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Yellow Fever Cases Drop 

By Efeti Mosima*

CameroonPostline.com — The number of yellow fever cases in Cameroon is declining, according to statistics from the Expanded Programme of Immunisation, EPI. Yellow fever cases in the country had witnessed an upsurge between 2009 and 2012. EPI holds that only 15 cases of yellow fever have been confirmed after laboratory tests in four health districts of Abong Mbang, New Bell, Bonassama and Ngoumou.

This represents a 50-percent drop from the 30 cases that were reported and confirmed in nine health districts of Ngaoundere Urban, Tignere, Bourha, Guere, Cité Palmiers, Guider, Ndu and Ebolowa. The National Coordinator of Surveillance and Supplementary Immunisation activities at EPI, Dr. Irene Emah, explained that the current drop in yellow fever cases is due to the strategy put in place by Government to contain the disease.

The strategy of surveillance of cases of yellow fever was introduced in the country by EPI since 2003. According to Dr. Emah, any one reported case of yellow fever constitutes an epidemic and therefore calls for an emergency action. The emergency action, she remarked, is that people from nine months old and above in the area are vaccinated.

Following the 15 reported cases this year, a vaccination campaign against the disease is currently going on in 13 health districts in the country. They include Dibombari, Edea, Loum, Manjo, Mbanga, Melon, Manoka, Nkoljock, Ndom, Ngambe, Nkongsamba, Pouma and Yabassi.

Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted from person to person through the bite of the aedes mosquito which breeds in small stagnant water reservoirs. Poor environmental hygiene, therefore, contributes to the transmission. It confers permanent immunity to survivors. In the sylvatic cycle of transmission, the monkey is the main host, while man is just an accidental host.

Meantime, in the urban cycle of transmission, man is the main host. The incubation period is three to six days. As for the symptoms, the onset is abrupt. The patient has fever above 39°C and is agitated. There are also jaundice, neurological signs and vomiting of black blood.

Liver and renal complications can cause death in one out of every two cases. Yellow fever is diagnosed through blood test in the laboratory and the only way of preventing the disease is through vaccination and vector control, that is, eliminating stagnant water and so on.
Yellow fever is a major public health problem.

Recently, many Cameroonians were gripped with fear following the detection of four new cases of yellow fever. Out of the most recent reported cases, two were from the Littoral, one from the Centre and one from the East Region.

*(ASMAC Student On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01461

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