UN provides vaccines to help in Paraguayan fight against yellow fever outbreak
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has organized the supply of two million doses of yellow fever vaccine to Paraguay as health authorities in the South American country battle a deadly outbreak of the viral disease.
The vaccine doses were obtained from the WHO’s International Coordinating Group on Provision of Vaccines, the agency said in an update released today. Brazil has sent 850,000 doses and Peru has dispatched 144,000, adding to the 300,000 that Paraguay already has on reserve.
More than one million people who live in or travel to the areas affected by the outbreak – which are largely the rural areas of the departments of San Pedro and Central, north and east of Asunción, the capital – have already been vaccinated, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Widespread spraying is also taking place to try to control the spread of yellow fever, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
So far, 16 cases have been confirmed and another 15 are being investigated. Three people have died, all in San Lorenzo municipality, which lies in Central department close to Asunción. It follows a similar outbreak late last year and early this year in three states in neighbouring Brazil. In that outbreak, 13 people died.
Yellow fever derives its name from the jaundice that affects some sufferers, who tend to experience fever, muscle pain, headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea. While most patients recover, the disease can be deadly and the number of infected people has risen in recent years, despite the availability of an effective vaccine.