DRC launches emergency vaccination campaign against yellow fever

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo will launch an emergency mass vaccination campaign on Thursday against yellow fever, according to the World Health Organization.

The WHO issued a global alert and response on Friday about the campaign after laboratories confirmed six cases of yellow fever in the DRC on June 6. The cases were reported from three health zones and were identified through the national surveillance program for yellow fever.

The Ministry of Health will run the campaign with support from Médecins Sans Frontières, the GAVI Alliance and other partners. The campaign is meant to cover at least 503,426 people in the three affected health zones. The International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision will provide 559,000 doses of yellow fever vaccine for the campaign. The WHO will closely support the management of the outbreak.

The YF-ICG is a partnership that provides yellow fever vaccines for emergency response that is represented by the WHO, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières, the U.N. Children's Fund and the GAVI Alliance.

A preliminary investigation into the outbreak found that the index case for the disease is a 16-year-old boy from the Lubao Health Zone who became ill on March 1. The investigation team identified 51 suspected cases, including 19 deaths, in the three health zones. Serum samples from 13 patients are being analyzed in the Institute National of Biomedical Research.