Yellow fever vaccine supply under pressure, says WHO

Published: Monday 31 March 2008

As the outbreak of yellow fever spreads from Brazil to its neighbouring countries, Argentina and Paraguay, who has said that the world's supply of vaccine against the disease is under extreme pressure.

"At this point, our global emergency stockpile is depleted. We are very much on the edge of our ability to supply both emergency and preventative mass campaigns," said Mike Ryan, coordinator of the global outbreak alert and response network of who. Ryan said this in reference to the millions of vaccines sent to Paraguay in the last week of February after the country confirmed a fatal case of yellow fever in its capital city Asuncion -- the first fatal case of the disease in an urban area of Latin America in six decades. According to who, the mosquito-borne disease can spread particularly fast in suburbs and cities, since urban areas are crowded and people don't have immunity against the virus.

The yellow fever outbreak has so far killed 21 people in Argentina and 19 people in Brazil.

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