Angola’s yellow fever outbreak has killed more than 300 people since December, with cases of the deadly disease spreading to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and even China, the World Health Organization has said.
The outbreak was first detected in the capital Luanda at the end of last year, and has now been confirmed in most coastal and central regions of the west African country.
“Angola has reported 2,536 suspected cases of yellow fever with 301 deaths,” WHO said in an update released Thursday.
“Despite vaccination campaigns in Luanda, Huambo and Benguela provinces, circulation of the virus persists in some districts.”
WHO warned of unimmunised travellers spreading the virus after neighbouring DR Congo reported 41 cases imported from Angola, with two cases in Kenya and 11 in China.
“The outbreak in Angola remains of high concern due to persistent local transmission in Luanda despite the fact that more than seven million people have been vaccinated,” WHO said.
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and found in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America’s Amazon region.
Yellow fever vaccinations are routinely recommended for travellers to Angola, though the country had not previously seen a significant outbreak since 1986.
Aid groups have warned of poor health facilities and vaccine shortages limiting Angola’s ability to cope with the outbreak.