Published byEmily Christopher
Published on25 August 2016
With the recent outbreak of yellow fever in Angola and neighboring countries, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have commenced massive vaccination campaigns to stop the spread of the disease. The World Health Organization is supporting these campaigns.
While yellow fever is endemic to Angola, this is the country’s first outbreak of the disease in 28 years (2). As of 11 August, Angola has at least 3,922 suspected and confirmed cases, and 369 deaths (3, 4). Congo has reported 2,357 suspected cases, and 16 deaths. No cases have been confirmed in Angola in July or August (4).
Vaccination campaigns in both countries began mid-August. In Angola, reactive and preventative vaccination campaigns were also implemented. The preventative vaccination campaign has two phases. The initial phase targets approximately 3 million at-risk people in 22 districts, most near Angola’s borders with the DRC, Namibia and Republic of Congo. The second phase will target an additional two million people. As of 18 August, 922,177 people had been vaccinated (4).
On 17 August, DRC initiated a preventative vaccination campaign. This campaign targets 32 health zones in Kinshasa province, as well as 3 million people in health zones near the Angolan border. On the first day of the vaccine campaign in DRC, data from 14 health zones indicates that 570,085 people were vaccinated. Data from additional provinces is forthcoming (4).
Due to limited vaccine availability, the DRC campaign is using the fractionate dose strategy, wherein vaccines are diluted to one-fifth of the standard dose. According to the WHO, “This method, known as fractional dosing, was recommended by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), after it reviewed existing evidence that demonstrated lower doses would protect people safely and effectively against the disease for at least 12 months, and likely much longer. The fractional dose will not entitle people to travel internationally, but it will protect them from yellow fever during this outbreak and will help stop it from spreading further (5).”
The WHO has sent almost 27 million vaccines to Angola and DRC thus far (4). This effort represents the “biggest emergency yellow fever campaign ever held in Africa (1).” Working with 56 global partners, WHO aims to vaccinate over 14 million people in the affected areas (5).
- World Health Organization. Yellow fever vaccination campaign starts in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. August 2016. http://www.who.int/features/2016/yellow-fever-vaccination-kinshasa/en/. Accessed 21 August 2016.
- World Health Organization. Q&A: Yellow fever outbreak in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo. 17 June 2016. http://www.who.int/emergencies/yellow-fever/mediacentre/qa/en/. Accessed 21 August 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health. Yellow Fever in Angola. 19 August 2016. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/yellow-fever-angola. Accessed 21 August 2016.
- World Health Organization. Situation Report: Yellow Fever. 19 August 2016. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/249535/1/yellowfeversitrep19Aug16-eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed 21 August 2016.
- World Health Organization. Mass vaccination campaign to protect millions against yellow fever in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo. August 2016. http://www.who.int/features/2016/yellow-fever-mass-vaccination-campaign/en/. Accessed 21 August 2016.