South Sudan, UN launch vaccination drive to curb outbreak of yellow fever-Xinhua

South Sudan, UN launch vaccination drive to curb outbreak of yellow fever

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-13 22:08:45

JUBA, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan and UN agencies on Tuesday launched a reactive yellow fever vaccination campaign as part of preventive response intervention after confirmation of two cases.

The campaign is targeting about 610,000 individuals aged nine months to 65 years in Yambio, Tambura Ezo, Ibba, and Maridi counties in Western Equatoria State where two confirmed yellow fever cases were reported.

Humphrey Karamagi, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative for South Sudan, said the yellow fever vaccination campaign aligns with the global strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) by 2026.

"This reactive measure aims to protect populations at high risk and act as a bridge toward integrating yellow fever," Karamagi said in a joint statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

The vaccination campaign utilizes doses secured from the global emergency yellow fever vaccine stockpile of the International Coordination Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, supported by funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The campaign is in response to the confirmed outbreak of yellow fever on Dec. 24, 2023, with two laboratory-confirmed cases identified in Western Equatoria State.

The campaign is being carried out by the South Sudanese Ministry of Health in cooperation with the WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and other partners.

"To address the outbreak, a multidisciplinary team of epidemiologists, public health officers, entomologists, laboratory specialists, and risk communication experts conducted an extensive epidemiological investigation to characterize the extent of the outbreak, identify risk/exposure factors, and implement control and prevention measures," said Yolanda Awel Deng, South Sudan's minister of Health.

Yellow fever, an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, poses a significant public health threat. Characterized by symptoms such as fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, the disease can lead to severe complications, with approximately half of patients succumbing within seven to ten days.

Hamida Lasseko, the UNICEF South Sudan representative, said it is critical to stop the outbreak and halt further infections, noting that immunization is the best tool to stop the spread.

"With the deployment of vaccines, and associated supplies and equipment coupled with trained health workers and sensitized communities, we can protect the children and communities affected," Lasseko said.