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Yellow Fever In Burkina Faso Reveals Vaccine Needs

Two Yellow Fever Cases In Burkina Faso Spark Fresh Vaccine Campaign – UN

New York, Nov 3 2008 7:10PM

Two boys in northern Burkina Faso have contracted yellow fever in a fresh outbreak of the disease that has already claimed the life of the eldest child, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.

The WHO regional laboratory at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, confirmed that the two boys – the eldest aged six years and the youngest aged seven months – were originally diagnosed in early October in the Ouahigouya district.

Neither child was vaccinated, according to a press release issued today by WHO, despite the routine infant immunization programme in Ouahigouya, which started in 2002 and was expanded in 2007 to reach over 85 per cent of children in the area.

Some 37 districts in Burkina Faso will benefit from a yellow fever preventative mass vaccination campaign from 13 November, and a reactive vaccination campaign will be launched in Ouahigouya, close to the border with Mali, targeting 366,052 people in response to the outbreak.

The stockpile of vaccines that will be used in the campaign has been funded by the UN-supported public-private alliance known as GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization).

WHO also announced that two cases of yellow fever were reported in the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this year, and more than 183,000 people in that country will be immunized against the disease in the La Lobaye prefecture – where the cases were reported – and part of its neighbouring prefecture, La Sangha.

Yellow fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, derives its name from the jaundice that affects some sufferers, who tend to experience fever, muscle pain, headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea. While most patients recover, the disease can be deadly and the number of infected people has risen in recent years, despite the availability of an effective vaccine.

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