Sudan launches vaccination campaign against yellow fever

The United Nations announced on Monday that Sudan launched a major vaccination campaign to immunize 2.4 million people against a yellow fever outbreak in the Darfur region.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Health also said that Sudan's Health Ministry received its first shipment of 800,000 vaccine doses on Friday. Since the outbreak began in September, the country experienced 116 deaths out of 459 suspected yellow fever cases as of Saturday, Associated Press reports.

Health officials said that the heavy rainy season in Darfur this year led to additional breeding sites for mosquitoes, the carriers of yellow fever and other diseases.

Since 2003, the Sudanese government has battled rebel groups in Darfur. More than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and the turmoil restricts health care services to many residents, Associated Press reports.

The World Health Organization issued a Global Alert and Response on November 13 after learning about the yellow fever outbreak from Sudan's Federal Ministry of Health. The organization is providing support for the country by strengthening epidemiological surveillance, conducting epidemiological surveillance and standardizing clinical case management.

The WHO is also helping to mobilize local leaders to raise awareness about the disease in the communities affected by the outbreak.