Angola yellow fever outbreak exposes vaccine supply dilemma

miércoles 20 de abril de 2016 09:20 GYT

* Angola outbreak kills 250, depletes vaccine supplies

* Calls for use of reduced dose vaccine resisted by WHO

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - The worst yellow fever outbreak in decades has killed 250 people in Angola and is straining global vaccine supplies, posing a dilemma for health officials who fear it could spread further in Africa and possibly into Asia.

Some experts have called for a radical switch in strategy to use just one-tenth of the usual vaccine dose to conserve scarce stocks but the World Health Organization (WHO) says it can't be sure this would work.

Yellow fever is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Zika and dengue viruses, although it is a much more serious disease with death rates as high as 75 percent in severe cases requiring admission to hospital.

The condition, which takes its name from the jaundiced colour of some patients, has spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo and there is concern it could gain a foothold for the first time in Asia.

The WHO says cases of yellow fever imported into China, which has close commercial ties with oil-rich Angola, show that "this outbreak constitutes a potential threat for the entire world".

And it is warning that further spread elsewhere in Africa and Asia would increase the squeeze on vaccine supplies and could interrupt routine immunisation.   Continuación...