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Yellow fever from Angola and Congo: a storm gathers.
In common with Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue, Yellow Fever (YF) is an arthropod-borne flavivirus. It is transmitted between humans and from monkeys by mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti (its principal vector), haemogogus and albopictus varieties. Three cycles of transmission may occur: urban; sylvatic; and intermediate. Recently, sub-Saharan Africa has seen the resurgence of this neglected disease. The current YF outbreak in Angola began in December 2015 in the capital Luanda and by October 2016 there had been > 4300 suspected cases, with 376 deaths (case fatality rate = 8.8%). A total of 884 were laboratory confirmed but it is likely that case numbers may be seriously underestimated. YF has subsequently quickly spread to neighbouring Congo and further afield to Kenya and also China, this being of grave concern as this was a first introduction of YF to Asia. YF has recently hit Brazil, with 555 suspected cases and 107 deaths reported by the end of January 2017. Extremely rapid unplanned urban migration in Africa by non-immune rural populations to already densely populated cities, where high densities of mosquitoes co-exist with city dwellers in makeshift flimsy accommodation, poses a ready recipe for an epidemic of massive proportion. In such conditions, with enormously strained public services existing among the most needy and vulnerable populations, mosquito control programmes are nearly impossible. YF in Congo is a tempest barely restrained. However, it is one that can be controlled by focused and committed international collaboration, by intense and united political will and by the marriage of old and trusted techniques: a vaccine almost a century old and some of the most modern technologies available to man.
1 Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital. 2 Associate Professor of Medicine, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, New York, USA.
3 Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases & Director Research Center, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 4 Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Pub Type(s)Journal Article