Article by
Dani Reiter

Urban Yellow Fever Outbreak Infects 89 Causing One Fatality

Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) reports yellow fever virus outbreak in Abidjan

globe showing western africa and the ivory coast

According to a Republic of Côte d'Ivoire statement, the African country reported 89 people have contracted the Yellow Fever virus and 1 person has died in recent weeks.

The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Health Minister Dr. Eugène Aka Aouele said on July 30, 2019, that ‘most of the confirmed cases were in the West African country's economic capital of Abidjan.’

‘And, any unvaccinated person in Côte d'Ivoire, which is also known as the Ivory Coast, should be vaccinated against yellow fever.’

Urban yellow fever outbreaks are very rare, and can spread extremely rapidly among a dense population, causing many thousands of deaths and very serious humanitarian consequences, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

As a result of the recent population migration from infected forest areas to urban settings, large African cities are at risk for yellow fever epidemics.

Abidjan has a population of approximately 4.7 million and is located in Africa's west-central coast. 

Additionally, Abidjan is near the end of its rainy season, which spurs mosquito breeding.

This is not Republic of Côte d'Ivoire first outbreak. In September 2001, yellow fever cases were confirmed in 50 percent of the communes in Abidjan, says the WHO.

Verifying a person’s yellow fever immunizations status has been reported to become challenging in Africa. According to a recent report published in The Lancet on July 20, 2019, it is possible to obtain a government-issued Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in Nigeria, without actually getting the Stamaril vaccine.

This situation is important since Côte d'Ivoire requires proof of yellow fever immunization prior to entering its country. The number of arrivals in Ivory Coast was reported at 158,3000 in 2016, according to the World Bank.

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To alert USA-based international travelers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Travel information on June 18, 2019, suggesting pre-trip vaccinations should include the Stamaril Yellow Fever vaccine for all travelers older than 9 months of age. 

The Stamaril vaccine should be administered at least 10 days before entering an endemic area for the protective immunity to be achieved.

Additionally, the CDC says visitors ensure they are current with certain vaccines, such as Routine Vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The MMR vaccination is important since Côte d'Ivoire was included in the CDC’s Global Measles Outbreak Notice, issued on June 10, 2019.

Furthermore, vaccinations for Hepatitis A, and Typhoid should be considered for most Côte d'Ivoire visitors, says the CDC.

Pre-departure vaccination services, related travel medications, and counseling appointments can be scheduled with a local pharmacy by visiting Vax-Before-Travel.

And, vaccine financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

Previously, the US Department of State issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory ‘Exercise increased caution in Cote d’Ivoire due to crime and terrorism,’ on December 11, 2018, which is still active.