WHO demands faster mass vaccinations to stop yellow fever in Africa

Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo should speed up yellow fever mass vaccinations and should get better at spotting new cases to prevent the outbreak from spiralling out of control, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday.

The Geneva-based UN agency also said that all travellers to and from these two countries should get immunized.

The UN health organization decided that the outbreak in both countries does not constitute a global health emergency at this point, as more and more people going in and out of Angola's capital Luanda are being vaccinated, WHO's emergencies chief Bruce Aylward said.

Luanda has been at the centre of the outbreak that started late last year, resulting in 2,300 suspected infections and some 300 deaths so far in Angola.

"This can be a devastating disease with a high mortality rate and a rapid spread in urban areas," Aylward told reporters in Geneva.

The current outbreak "is serious and of great concern and requires intensified control measures," WHO said in a statement.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus between humans, but it can be exported abroad by travellers infected with the flu-like disease.

In this way, yellow fever has spread from Angola to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there were less than 50 cases as of last week.

A few cases have also been exported to Kenya and China.

WHO is working with pharmaceutical companies to boost the emergency stockpile of yellow fever vaccines, from currently 5 million doses to up to 18 million within a few months.

Last update: Thu, 19/05/2016 - 22:17

More from World

HRW decries Russia and Saudi Arabia's candidacy for UN rights body

Russia and Saudi Arabia's re-election to serve on the UN Human Rights Council would undermine the body's credibility...

Expert: UN avoiding responsibility for Haiti cholera is a "disgrace"

The reluctance of the United Nations to accept responsibility for allegedly causing the 2010 cholera outbreak in...

Turkish authorities arrest mayor of Diyarbakir

The mayor of Diyarbakir, a major city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish south-east, has been detained on suspicion...

Trump: "We're very close or winning"

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump maintains that his campaign is "very close or winning" with just...

Dozens of Iraqi civilians found dead outside of Mosul, the UN says

The bullet-ridden bodies of dozens of civilians have reportedly been found near Mosul by Iraqi security services,...