Angolan Yellow Fever Outbreak Could Morph Into 'Global Emergency'
For most people in the developed world, yellow fever is a scourge usually encountered in books -- "Treasure Island," for example -- rather than a concrete, real-world concern. But an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association warns that a recent outbreak of the viral disease that has killed almost 300 people in Angola since December, coupled with a shortage of yellow fever vaccines, could prompt a "global emergency."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly six million people have been vaccinated in Angola. The southern African has a population of just over 24 million, and WHO officials in April noted that an emergency stockpile of yellow fever vaccine has run out. It usually takes around six months to produce new vaccines, and Angola's latest yellow fever outbreak is significant enough that it has evidently spread to other African nations like Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya and, it seems, China.
In the AMA journal article Daniel Lucey and Lawrence Gostinsay wrote that the WHO "should urgently convene an emergency committee to mobilize funds, co-ordinate an international response, and spearhead a surge in vaccine production."