Cameroon: Yellow Fever Under Control
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. Two of the cases were from the Littoral, one from the Centre and one from the East Region. Statistics from the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) show that 30 cases were detected and confirmed in nine health districts in the country in 2012 and 15 cases in four health districts in 2013.
The National Coordinator of Surveillance and Supplementary Immunisation activities in EPI, Dr Irene Emah said the current drop in the number of cases of yellow fever is as a result of the strategy taken by government to contain the disease. The strategy of surveillance of yellow fever cases was introduced in the country by EPI since 2003. According to Dr. Emah, any one case of yellow fever constitutes an epidemic and calls for a riposte. Presently, the riposte consists of a vaccination campaign against yellow fever which is going on in 13 health districts in the Littoral Region. People, aged nine months and above, are vaccinated.
Yellow fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever. The virus is transmitted from person to person through the bite of the Aedes mosquito which breeds in small stagnant water reserves. Poor environmental hygiene contributes to the transmission. It confers permanent immunity to survivors. In the sylvatic cycle of transmission, medics say, the monkey is the main host; man is just an accidental host. On the other hand, in the urban cycle of transmission, man is the main host. The incubation period is short three to six days.
As for the symptoms of yellow fever, the onset is abrupt. The patient has yellow fever above 39°C and is agitated. There are also jaundice, neurological problems and vomiting of black blood. Liver and renal complications can cause death in one out of every two cases. The illness is diagnosed through blood test in the laboratory. The only way of preventing the disease is through vaccination and vector control through eliminating stagnant water.