Alarmed by the continuing spread of the yellow fever outbreak in Angola and beyond, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appealed for an immediate remedy.
The first case of the outbreak was detected in Angola in late December 2015. According to figures from the World Health Organization, almost 2,900 suspected cases have since been reported in all the 18 provinces, with 325 deaths. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Congo are currently recording outbreaks with local transmission.
The IFRC has deployed members of the Regional Disaster Response Team in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola and released start-up money from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to go into supporting operations that are aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. Volunteers and staff working with the Angola Red Cross have supported the country’s vaccination campaign. They have also engaged in conducting social mobilization in the communities. The teams carry out door-to-door visits, teaching the people on how they can reduce the risk of contracting the yellow fever. This includes vector control to destroy mosquito breeding sites.
In line to the ground level work being carried out by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners, the IFRC is also deploying a Field Assessment Coordination Team to Angola to carry out an in-depth assessment of gaps and needs primarily focused on improved vector control, community surveillance and addressing rumours that are spreading about the disease and vaccinations. The enhanced emergency operation will mainly focus on newly-affected districts and in border areas.
Five neighboring countries have already reported cases of imported yellow fever confirmed to have originated from people who had travelled to Angola: 88 in Congo-Brazzaville; 44 in Democratic Republic of the Congo; two each in Kenya and Sao Tome; and 11 in China.