#2: Yellow Fever Outbreak in Brazil Causes Hundreds of Deaths
The threat of a massive yellow fever outbreak in South America was already looming last year
, when the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) declared an epidemiological alert for yellow fever in the area. At that time, experts warned
that unless the World Health Organization moved forward with an emergency response plan that involved “a surge in vaccine production,” the yellow fever outbreak in 2016 would result in a global epidemic similar to that of the Ebola virus and the ongoing Zika crisis.
Now, on the heels of a Level 2 Travel Alert
issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month for Brazil as a result of the ongoing outbreak, PAHO is reporting that there have been over 1300 cases of yellow fever infection and over 200 deaths. Although an effective vaccine currently exists for yellow fever, it is not widely available and usually reserved for administration in areas with the highest risk of infection.
“We have a number of vaccines that [we] planned ahead [for] to protect our population during the whole year,” but if there is a rapid increase of cases or new areas identified to have active transmission that were not planned for, there will not be enough vaccines to go around," Marta Cavalcanti, MD, PhD, a physician at Infectious Disease Clinic, Hospital Universitario Clementino Fraga Filho, UFRJ in Brazil told Contagion
® in an exclusive interview.
It is important to note that yellow fever is not only transmitted via the Aedes aegypti
mosquito. The virus can also be transmitted through the bite of a Haemagogus
mosquito which was infected by either a human or non-human carrier of the disease. In addition, there are three transmission cycles of yellow fever
. According to PAHO, “to date, Aedes aegypti
has not been reported to have a role in transmission.”
Learn more about the Yellow Fever outbreak in Brazil here