We've been following the Yellow Fever (YF) outbreak in Africa now for several months, starting with Angola in early February, and moving into the DRC in March. Uganda, meanwhile, is dealing with their own Yellow Fever outbreak, which is not epidemiologicaly linked to the DRC or Angola outbreak.
Last March, in Yellow Fever In Angola & The Risk Of International Spread - ECDC, we looked at concerns of seeing this arbovirus spread well beyond Angola, and since then we've seen a small number of exported cases turning up outside of Africa (see WHO Yellow Fever Update - Imported Cases In China).
Last week, in JAMA: Yellow Fever - A New Global Health Emergency? we looked at a lengthy backgrounder and viewpoint article, calling on the WHO to convene an Emergency Committee meeting of the IHR to consider this threat, and further calling on the WHO to:
` . . . establish a standing emergency committee to meet regularly to advise the director-general whether to declare an emergency, take necessary steps to avert a crisis, or both.'
IHR Emergency Committee meetings bring together experts to review what has been learned about a specific disease threat, and to to decide whether that rises to the level of a "public health emergency of international concern" or PHEIC.
According to the WHO IHR FAQ, the term public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC ) is defined in the International Health Regulations as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.
Since the PHEIC for Ebola was withdrawn in late March, there are currently only two active; Polio and Zika.
But on Thursday, the WHO will convene an Emergency Committee Meeting to discuss whether Yellow Fever rises to the level of a PHEIC as well.
First Meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee concerning Yellow Fever
PREGNY-CHAMBESY, Switzerland, May 17, 2016/APO (African Press Organization)/
On Thursday, 19 March 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) is convening the Emergency Committee (EC) on Yellow Fever under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) for the first time.
The EC is being convened in response to the current outbreak of yellow fever in central Africa
The meeting will be held by teleconference.
A briefing for media will follow the Emergency Committee and a WHO statement, giving an account of the meeting and its conclusions, will be posted on the WHO public website and sent to media.
WHAT: First meeting of the Yellow Fever Emergency Committee
WHEN: EC begins at Thursday, 19 May 2016 at 13h00 CEST.
A press briefing will be held at approximately 19h00 CEST
FOR JOURNALISTS: A press briefing will be held at approximately 19h00 on 19 May in the Library Room at WHO Headquarters in Geneva.
WHO: The briefing will be given by the Chair of the Emergency Committee (name to be confirmed), and Dr Bruce Aylward, Executive Director a.i., Outbreaks and Health Emergencies.
Journalists will also be able to dial into the briefing.