The number of deaths from a yellow fever outbreak in Angola has risen to 225 with at least another 1,600 infected. However experts fear the numbers could be greater in rural areas where reporting is difficult.
A huge preventative vaccination campaign launched in February has already reached 6 million of the capital Luanda’s roughly 7.4 million inhabitants, but the disease has since spread to 16 of the country’s 18 provinces.
According to the World Health Organisation the global emergency stockpile of vaccines is already empty.
The WHO has urged Angola to only vaccinate in areas where yellow fever is spreading. But infected travelers have already brought the disease from Angola to three other countries in Africa, including the D:R of Congo.
Most infections occur in or close to the jungle where the disease is transmitted through the “yellow fever” mosquito. Most people have no symptoms, some experience fever and joint pain but roughly 15% progress to the more severe stage in which eyes and skin turn yellow. These cases are often fatal.