Yellow Fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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On March 12, 2014, two events of yellow fever were reported in the North and in the South of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Six laboratory-confirmed cases with yellow fever virus infection were reported. Of these, three were from Bondo health zone1, Orientale Province, two from Buta health zone, Orientale Province and one from Kikondja health zone, Katanga Province. In total 139 suspected, probable and confirmed cases, including six deaths were reported.

In Bondo district, the index case was a 40-year-old man who became ill with fever and jaundice on Dec. 10, 2013. His yellow fever vaccination status is not known. Laboratory confirmation was conducted by the Institute National of Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa, which showed IgM positive by ELISA test. Reconfirmation of the laboratory test was conducted by the regional reference laboratory for yellow fever at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal with a more specific test for yellow fever (plaque reduction neutralization test or PRNT), with exclusion of exclusion of other arbovirus.

The second case was reported in the same health zone on Jan. 30, 2014 and laboratory-confirmation was conducted on March 11, 2014. The patient’s vaccination status for yellow fever is not known.

Preliminary outbreak investigations revealed that in Bondo and the health district of Buta, at least 116 suspected cases were reported.

In Kikondja district, the index case was a 19-year-old woman reported by the Health Center of Ntwadi on Feb. 17, 2014. The case was laboratory-confirmed by INRB and IP Dakar. Following identification of the index case, an outbreak investigation was conducted in  three villages, Katongue, Kimbuvu and Lukila, where 23 suspected cases were identified.

International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YF-ICG2), approved the provision of 559,876 doses of yellow fever vaccine and operational costs for a reactive mass vaccination campaign.

A reactive mass vaccination campaign is being planned for May 1, 2014. The campaign will be headed by the Ministry of Health, DRC, with support from the GAVI Alliance, Médecin sans frontières (MSF) and other partners. WHO is closely supporting the management of the outbreak in monitoring, preventive and control activities in the field, and in resource mobilization.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

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