Ethiopia at ‘Risk of Yellow Fever Outbreak’

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia could simultaneously fight two outbreaks after the UN health organization reported a new yellow fever outbreak in the southern part of the country. 

The first two cases were reported on March 3 in Gurage zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), and the number had increased to six by April 6, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The risk at national level is assessed as high,” says WHO’s statement issued today. The UN Agency said the current outbreak shows rapid amplification of a yellow fever outbreak in a rural area.

“In the context of virtually no population immunity, the high number of suspect cases reported over a short time period is of high concern,” the statement reads.

“The onset of the rainy season could increase density of mosquito vectors, thereby further exacerbating risk of spread,” it says.

Ethiopia had to offer over a million yellow fever vaccinations to its population to contain the spread of the disease in 2018. During that time, the virus infected 35 people and killed 10 in Wolayta zone of the same region.

The UN agency said the possibility of the virus spreading outside of Ethiopia low thanks to the measures put in place to curb COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus and has so far infected 116 people in Ethiopia.  

Currently, WHO said, “there is a low risk at the regional level due to the limited population movement” at borders put in place by Ethiopian government to tackle COVID-19

Symptoms of the infection include fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting and fatigue, and it kills thousands of people a year worldwide.

[Map File/AJ]

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