Ethiopia Set To Launch Major Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign: WHO

The Ministry of Health of Ethiopia is launching an emergency mass-vaccination campaign against yellow fever starting June 10, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a news release on Friday.

The move is in response to laboratory confirmation of six cases in the African country earlier this month.

The campaign aims to cover more than 527, 000 people in some six districts, including South Ari, North Ari, Benatsemay, Selamago, Hammer, and Gnangatom and one administrative town (Jinka) in South Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.

The International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YF-ICG11) will provide over 585,800 doses of yellow fever vaccine for the mass vaccination campaign run by the Ethiopian Health Ministry, with support from the GAVI Alliance and other partners.

The YF-ICG is a partnership that manages the stockpile of yellow fever vaccines for emergency response on the basis of a rotation fund. It is represented by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and WHO, which also serves as the Secretariat.

On the other hand, the GAVI Alliance (formerly the 'Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization') is a public-private global health partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries.

WHO is closely supporting the outbreak investigation, capacity building for case management, resource mobilization for outbreak management, and monitoring preventive and control activities in the field, the statement said.

The six laboratory-confirmed cases of Yellow fever in Ethiopia are from South Omo, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' region. The cases were identified through the national surveillance program for yellow fever.

"The index case was a 39-year-old man who presented with fever and jaundice and haemorrhagic signs in January 2013. He was laboratory-confirmed by IgM (antibody test). Differential diagnosis for other flaviviruses was negative," the WHO said.

Laboratory confirmation was done by Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, a WHO regional reference laboratory for yellow fever.

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