Yellow Fever – Angola, infected and spreading

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Angola is a country located in the South Western portion of the African Continent. Since the Zika outbreak in the western continents, another Mosquito borne virus has been spreading in Angola. Yellow fever was first potential incidents of yellow fever was in 1647 in the Caribbean Island, presumed to have been brought over via slave trade ships from Africa. In 1793, America saw the first major outbreak of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia, which led the American Government to flee the city which led to a permanent move of the capital to Washington D.C. Outbreaks of Yellow Fever across the Americas has numbered in the tens of thousands of cases.

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Current Outbreak:

The Ministry of Health in Angola has reported over 2,000 cases with approximately 277 deaths. Similar to Zika, Yellow Fever is spread via mosquitoes: the Aedes and Haemogogus species. However, unlike Zika, Yellow Fever has a working vaccine and the WHO is pushing for widespread vaccination in areas of confirmed cases.

Yellow Fever is named for the Jaundiced skin that accompanies some with the virus. It is characterized by fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. The virus incubates within the body for 3 to 6 days and most people do not have symptoms. Most common symptoms disappear within 3 to 4 days. However, a small percentage of individuals develop severe symptoms and approximately half of these cases are fatal within 7-10 days. These severe symptoms include a high grade fever, jaundice, dark urine and abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting. The toxic phase of this disease can include bleeding from the mouth nose and eyes and can lead to death.  Like other mosquito viruses Yellow Fever is predominant in humid tropical areas.

This disease is difficult to diagnose as it is characterized by symptoms of most viral illnesses like that of malaria, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fevers and poisoning.In 2006, the Yellow Fever Initiative was activated and has made significant progress in battling the disease via vaccination in West Africa. This vaccine provides a safe efficient  immunity to 99% of individuals against  Yellow Fever within 30 days. This vaccine provides a lasting immunity to the virus but may require a booster depending on time between vaccine and travel to Yellow Fever infected areas. Other non-medical ways to avoid Yellow Fever infection is to reduce chance of mosquito bites by wearing bug repellent, reducing standing water and wearing long sleeves.

The CDC has issued travel warnings to avoid areas with active Yellow Fever cases if you have not been vaccinated. Vaccines are available in most clinics, but you should contact your provider to check on availability.