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Vaccination Campaign Against Yellow Fever

UN-Backed Mass Vaccination Campaign Against Yellow Fever Set To Start In Sudan

New York, Nov 28 2005

United Nations agencies and their partners are supporting a mass vaccination campaign against yellow fever in Sudan's South Kordofan state, where 530 cases have already been reported, 131 of them fatal, following the weekend arrival of 1.7 million doses of vaccine.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) together with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Médecins sans Frontières (France) and MEDAIR are backing the launch of the campaign following two days of training for national teams.

A Yellow Fever Outbreak Task Force consisting of these organizations working with the Federal Ministry of Health, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Sudanese Red Crescent Society and German Red Cross Society are coordinating the response.

The vaccine came from the emergency vaccine stockpile of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), an alliance between the private and public sector that brings together governments in developing and industrialized countries, established and emerging vaccine manufacturers, NGOs, research institutes, UNICEF WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.

Last week WHO Representative in Sudan Guido Sabatinelli warned that with reported cases increasing every day, "we may be dealing with a major epidemic."

The last documented yellow fever outbreak in the Nuba Mountain region of central Sudan was 65 years ago, in 1940. At the time, an estimated 15,000 cases and 1,500 deaths were reported. Case fatality rates in a yellow fever epidemic can reach 50 per cent.

ENDS

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