The World Health Organization releases more than one million doses of yellow fever vaccine from its emergency reserve after the lethal mosquito disease that killed 10 people in southwest Ethiopia, a WHO report said on Monday.
The outbreak was confirmed in the Wolaita zone of southern nations, nationalities and the peoples' region, and was traced back to a patient who was ill on August 21st. It caused 35 suspected illnesses.
"This is a cause for concern as the Ethiopian population is particularly susceptible to yellow fever due to the lack of recent exposure and lack of high immunization," the WHO report said.
Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, and although only a small percentage of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, about half of them die within seven to 10 days.
All confirmed cases came from the Offa Woreda region and there have been no confirmed cases since an immediate vaccination reaction campaign was held in mid-October, reaching about 31,000 people.
However, the WHO stated that there was a risk of further spread of the disease, partly due to the conflict in the region, and released 1.45 million doses of vaccine for a mass campaign that had to be carried out "without further delay".
Ethiopia, the country of origin of the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is located within the Yellow Zone geographic zone and had frequent events up to the 1960s but no more than 143 cases confirmed in the SNNP area in 2013, according to weekly report.
The introduction of yellow fever vaccination into routine vaccination in Ethiopia is scheduled for 2020.