WHO ships 1.5M yellow fever vaccines to Ethiopia

The World Health Organization is sending nearly 1.5 million doses of the yellow fever vaccine from its emergency stockpile to Ethiopia after 10 people died from the disease, according to Reuters.

Health officials traced the nation's yellow fever outbreak to an individual who contracted the mosquito-borne illness Aug. 21. Since then, the outbreak has caused 35 suspected cases.

"This outbreak is of concern since the population of Ethiopia is highly susceptible to yellow fever due to absence of recent exposure and lack of large-scale immunization," the WHO said in a Nov. 5 report cited by Reuters.

All of the confirmed yellow fever cases occurred in the country's Offa Woreda district. Ethiopia launched a massive vaccination campaign in mid-October, which  reached about 31,000 people. There have been no new confirmed cases in the area since the vaccination effort.

However, the WHO indicated there is a potential risk for the disease to further spread due to conflict within the region. Ethiopia plans to implement the yellow fever vaccine as part of a routine immunization regimen for all residents in 2020.

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