Yellow Fever outbreak claims more lives despite ongoing containment measures

GHANA – The Ghana Health Service has announced that 25 people have so far died from the recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in Savannah and Upper West Regions.

A statement signed by Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General, and shared with the Ghana News Agency, said 18 persons were also on admission.

The outbreak, which was initially detected in the Savannah Region, has now spread to the East District of the Upper West Region, the statement added.

The GHS on the 29th October 2021 notified the public of an outbreak of Yellow Fever in some districts in the Savannah Region, with eight deaths reported.

The outbreak was confirmed after initial laboratory test results were conducted by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.

The GHS, subsequently, dispatched a team of experts from the service, World Health Organisation Country Office, and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to the region to support the region investigate the outbreak and implement appropriate control measures.

The statement said the team, among others, assessed the risk of yellow fever transmission based on the population of the vector responsible for transmitting yellow fever, the aedes mosquito.

It said following the findings of the team, the service has implemented several interventions, including targeted vaccination of selected communities for Yellow Fever in the affected districts in a bid to keep the disease at bay.

As of 15th November 2021, more than 43,615 persons had been vaccinated in the Savannah Region as part of the intervention.

The GHS said it has also dispatched 50,300 doses of Yellow Fever vaccines from its Headquarters with support from the Ghana Air Force to the Regional Health Directorate for onward distribution to the selected districts for vaccination.

The service assured that together with the Ministry of Health it would continue to engage partners, such as the WHO and CDC, to ensure that the outbreak was brought under full control.

The Ghana Health Service will continue with efforts aimed at improving outcomes for persons who are unfortunately affected while continuing with the vaccination drive to improve the immunity of the population against Yellow Fever,” it added.

Yellow Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted through infected mosquitoes. It was named yellow as it, sometimes, cause jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) to the infected people. Thirty-four African countries are endemic to yellow fever.

According to the WHO, the burden of yellow fever in Africa is estimated at 84,000–170,000 severe cases and 29,000–60,000 deaths annually. However, administration of the vaccines is expected to alleviate the effects of the disease.

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