YELLOW FEVER -
Since mid-June this year , 13 cases of suspected yellow fever, confirmed as positive by the laboratory of the National Institute of Biological Research (INRB), have been registered in the territory of Kasongo-Lunda [in Bandundu province], according to a memorandum from the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) received on Wednesday [17 Jul 2013]. "Other samples are ongoing," said the note, adding that "these cases occurred in 6 health areas."
According to OCHA, 3 of the people infected are under 5 years old, and another is a prisoner. Awareness campaigns are being conducted and an epidemiological investigation of cases is in progress.
Last week [week of 8 Jul 2013], a vaccination campaign against yellow fever was organized in the health district of Cabinda, Kasai-Oriental [province], where 51 suspected cases of yellow fever with 19 deaths have been reported this year .
Epidemics have become recurrent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and these outbreaks tend to be endemic. We must recognize that cases of yellow fever are underestimated because most often they are not reported or go undiagnosed when we also know that many causes of fever may be suspected in the same subject without a definitive diagnosis. Broad awareness [campaigns] should be undertaken within the population to reduce the spread of these diseases and yellow fever in particular.
The vaccination status of the population in the health areas where the cases occurred is not mentioned, nor are any statements given about plans to mount campaigns in these areas. There has been a yellow fever outbreak in a different area of the DRC this year (2013). This resulted in planning for a mass vaccination campaign that aimed to cover at least 503 426 people in 3 affected health zones of Lubao, Kamana, and Ludimbi-Lukula in Kasai-Oriental province, where cases have been laboratory confirmed. Those cases occurred in an area far away from the cases mentioned above.
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