UPDATE 3-Congo declares yellow fever epidemic, 1,000 suspected cases

lunes 20 de junio de 2016 18:59 GYT

* Densely populated capital key concern for doctors

* Global stockpile of vaccines running low

* Outbreak coincides with economic crisis, political tensions (Adds details, comment from WHO)

KINSHASA, June 20 (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday declared a yellow fever epidemic in three provinces, including the capital Kinshasa, after confirming 67 cases of the disease, with another 1,000 suspected cases being monitored.

Health Minister Felix Kabange said only seven of the proven cases were indigenous to the Central African country, while 58 were imported from Angola, where the outbreak began. A further two cases came from remote forested areas not linked to the current outbreak. Five people in total have died, Kabange added.

"I declare today a localised epidemic of yellow fever in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kongo Central and Kwango," Kabange told a news conference.

Kinshasa is the primary concern for global health officials since it has a densely-packed population of more than 12 million and poor healthcare infrastructure.

Yellow fever is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that spread the Zika and dengue viruses, although it is a much more serious disease. The "yellow" in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some infected patients.

The global stockpile of vaccines has already been depleted twice this year to immunise people in Angola, Uganda and Congo. It stands at 6 million doses, but this may not be enough if there are simultaneous outbreaks in multiple highly-populated areas, experts warn.   Continuación...