World Health Organization Issues Global Alert

( – With the world’s memories of the COVID-19 pandemic still too fresh and painful, the World Health Organization (WHO), a UN body, has now issued an alert because of the multinational outbreak of another infectious disease – yellow fever.

On Wednesday, WHO released a warning about a widespread outbreak of yellow fever (YF) affecting several African countries.

As of the beginning of 2023, thirteen nations across Africa have reported both suspected and confirmed instances of this disease.

The countries identified are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Togo, and Uganda.

The mortality rate for these cases averages at 11%.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, WHO has assessed that the likelihood of this outbreak evolving into a global pandemic remains minimal.

However, they stress the importance of vigilant monitoring to prevent the disease from spreading further, either within these countries or in other regions.

Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito bites, a commonality it shares with other diseases that have reached pandemic levels.

A significant challenge in addressing the yellow fever outbreak is the described “suboptimal” level of disease surveillance. This makes it difficult to ascertain the exact number of individuals affected or the death toll since the onset of 2023.

The incubation period for yellow fever lasts between three to six days, during which symptoms such as fever, muscle and back pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting may appear.

The disease can progress to a “toxic phase,” where it severely affects the liver and kidneys. This phase is marked by possible bleeding from various parts of the body, and can lead to death within seven to ten days.

Efforts to combat the spread of yellow fever include a national response plan that emphasizes vaccine distribution, enhanced surveillance, and preventive actions, including measures to control the mosquito population responsible for the transmission of the disease.

Currently, the WHO is advising against imposing any travel or trade restrictions in relation to the yellow fever outbreak.

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