Yellow Fever: PAHO urges unvaccinated travellers to get vaccinated



GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) in its recent epidemiological report about yellow fever in the Americas, says between January 2016 and 13 March 2018, seven countries and territories of the Region of the Americas reported confirmed cases of yellow fever: Pluri-national State of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, and Suriname.

The number of human cases and epizootics collectively reported in this period in the Region of the Americas is the highest observed in decades.

The occurrence of confirmed cases of yellow fever in unvaccinated travellers highlights the need for Member States to reinforce the recommendation of vaccination.  PAHO further states, that the continuing occurrence of epizootics during the current seasonal period indicates that the risk of transmission to unvaccinated persons continues.

PAHO/WHO urges Member States to continue efforts to immunize the at-risk populations and take the necessary actions to keep travellers informed and vaccinated, when heading to areas where yellow fever vaccination is recommended.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease that is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito that can transmits the dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses.  Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected primates (human or non-human) and then transmit the virus to other primates (human or non-human).

The yellow fever vaccine is safe and affordable and provides effective immunity against the disease in the range of 80 to 100% of those vaccinated after 10 days and 99% immunity after 30 days.

A single dose provides life-long protection against yellow fever disease. A booster dose or second dose of yellow fever vaccine is not recommended by the Regional and International Yellow Fever Vaccination guidelines.

Priority should be given to the use of vaccines in susceptible populations and to avoid revaccination, and to ensure vaccination of all travellers to endemic areas at least 10 days before traveling.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), continues to monitor developments related to yellow fever, and has been doing so since January 2017 by having its surveillance mechanism on alert for any potential cases.

Persons traveling to countries with yellow fever should be vaccinated.  Those returning to Sint Maarten experiencing symptoms should immediately consult their family physician.

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email: