Health experts warn of possible entrance of yellow fever into country

The Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health yesterday warned a possible entrance of Yellow Fever (YF), an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes into Vietnam. 

As per the World Health Organization, Yellow fever occurs in 40 endemic countries predominantly in tropical areas in Africa in Central and South America. Around 90 percent of cases reported every year occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are an estimated 84, 000–170, 000 cases and up to 60 000 deaths due to yellow fever per year.

Noticeably, since the beginning of the year, the infection cases increased in African nations including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 453 suspect cases of YF and 45 deaths; Uganda with 30 infection cases and 7 deaths. Worst, Angola is grappling with a yellow fever outbreak, which has infected more than 2,149 people and killed 277 deaths.  China also reported 11 cases of infection all of whom are laborers returning from Angola.

The Ministry pointed out that the disease is not circulating in the Southeast Asian country yet the possibility of entrance is very high because there is a commercial and labor exchange with Angola and disease-hit nations. Yellow fever can be prevented by vaccination. To actively prevent, the Ministry warned people to vaccinate at least 10 days before coming to yellow fever-endemic areas.

Travelers should also take precautions against mosquito bites when in areas with yellow fever transmission, the ministry warned

Those returning from endemic areas should keep an eye on their health condition within at least seven days and if they have symptoms of the disease, they should go to medical clinic for check, the ministry added.

The Ministry said that up to 50 percent of severely affected persons without treatment will die from yellow fever. Patients may experience signs and symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, particularly in your back and knees, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting or both, loss of appetite, dizziness, red eyes, face or tongue.

There's no specific treatment for yellow fever. Vaccination is an effective prevention way.

By MINH KHANG – translated by Uyen Phuong

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