On July 18, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) first reported two cases of yellow fever within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), shares Outbreak News Today. This rare viral illness, spread by Aedes or Haemogogus mosquitos, is endemic in certain areas of Africa. While vaccinations are helpful in combating the spread of yellow fever, it can be dangerous for the viral illness to appear in heavily populated areas in which vaccination has not been largely given.
Most Recent Outbreak
Most recently, the two cases were found in the Abuzi health zone (North Ubangi) and the Ango health zone (Bas Uele). The patients were a male and female in their mid 30s-40s. While the report does not share if the condition was fatal for either patient, both patients were symptomatic, experiencing jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), back and abdominal pain, and fever, among other symptoms. At this point, there are also three additional cases believed to be yellow fever, another of which is in North Ubangi. The other two potential cases are from people in Kinshasa and Equateur. The WHO and its Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy will now be used to attempt to contain the outbreak and ensure the best outcomes for those affected.
Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted through infected mosquitos, most often Aedes Aegypti. Outside of yellow fever, these particular mosquitos are also known for carrying Zika virus, West Nile virus, and even chikungunya. Once bitten, symptoms of yellow fever usually appear within three to six days. Most people will either be asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Muscle and back pain
In most cases, these symptoms disappear within 3-4 days. However, a smaller subset of patients experiences severe and life-threatening symptoms, which can be fatal. Once these symptoms appear, this viral illness is fatal in about 50% of cases. These include:
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- High fever
- Liver and kidney issues
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Organ failure
- Bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach
There is no cure for this condition. Rather, treatment aims to address symptoms.