A disease considered almost obsolete has re-emerged and is causing concern in much of Africa, particularly urban areas where it is more difficult to control.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), yellow fever has acquired renewed vigour in recent years. Confirmed cases in the capitals of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo add to the seriousness of the situation.
A recent WHO Emergency Committee declared the urban yellow fever outbreaks a “serious public health event, warranting intensified national action and enhanced international support”.
For more than a decade, WHO has warned that changes in demography and land use in Africa have created ideal conditions for urban yellow fever. Rapid urbanisation has seen rural migrants carry the disease into heavily populated areas of non-immune people with flimsy mosquito control. There is a vaccine, but international supplies are limited.