We've been following the Yellow Fever (YF) outbreak in Angola now for a couple of months, including the ECDC's assessment on the The Risk Of International Spread two weeks ago, along with reports this week of exported cases turning up in China and Kenya.
Yesterday the CDC upgraded their travel notice for Angola, and recommends that unvaccinated individuals not to travel to Angola.
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
What is the current situation?The Ministry of Health in Angola has reported an ongoing outbreak of yellow fever. At least 1,562 suspected and confirmed cases have been reported nationally, including 225 deaths. The majority of yellow fever cases and deaths have been in Luanda Province. However, cases have been reported throughout the country. The Ministry is working with the World Health Organization to control the outbreak and has been conducting an emergency vaccination campaign in Luanda Province since early February.
The government of Angola requires all travelers older than 9 months of age to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers to Angola aged 9 months or older be vaccinated against yellow fever.
People who have never been vaccinated against yellow fever should not travel to Angola. Since there is currently a shortage of yellow fever vaccine, travelers may need to contact a yellow fever vaccine provider well in advance of travel. CDC no longer recommends booster doses of yellow fever vaccine for most travelers. However, Angola is currently a higher-risk setting because of the outbreak, so travelers to Angola may consider getting a booster if their last yellow fever vaccine was more than 10 years ago. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6423a5.htm.
What is yellow fever?Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus, which is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms take 3–6 days to develop and include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. About 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illness that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.
How can travelers protect themselves?Travelers can protect themselves from yellow fever by getting yellow fever vaccine and preventing mosquito bites.
Get yellow fever vaccine:
- Visit a yellow fever vaccination (travel) clinic and ask for a yellow fever vaccine.
- You should receive this vaccine at least 10 days before your trip.
- After receiving the vaccine, you will receive a signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP, sometimes called the “yellow card”), which you must bring with you on your trip.
- For most travelers, one dose of the vaccine lasts for a lifetime. Consult a travel medicine provider to see if additional doses of vaccine may be recommended for you based on specific risk factors.
- In rare cases, the yellow fever vaccine can have serious and sometimes fatal side effects. People older than 60 years and people with weakened immune systems might be at higher risk of developing these side effects. Also, there are special concerns for pregnant and nursing women. Talk to your doctor about whether you should get the vaccine.
Prevent mosquito bites:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
- Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself:
- Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
- Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.