De terugkeer van gele koorts

SEATTLE – Nog voordat de gruwelen van de laatste ebola-uitbraak in West-Afrika zelfs maar uit ons herinnering konden beginnen weg te ebben is het zika-virus opgekomen als groot gevaar voor de mondiale volksgezondheid, en houdt nu artsen en onderzoekers bezig in Zuid-Amerika, Centraal-Amerika, en het Caribisch gebied. Toch stijgt het dodental door een ander virus ook snel, te weten gele koorts.

In zuidwestelijk Afrika kijkt Angola een ernstige gele koorts epidemie in het gezicht – de eerste in dertig jaar. Sinds het virus afgelopen december opdook in Luanda, de hoofdstad en grootste stad van Angola, heeft het 293 mensen gedood en wordt het verdacht 2267 mensen te hebben besmet. Het virus heeft zich nu verspreid naar zes van de achttien provincies van het land. Reizigers hebben het meegebracht naar China, de Democratische Republiek Congo, en Kenia. Namibië en Zambia verkeren in de hoogste alarmfase.

Het gele koorts-virus wordt overgebracht door de Aedes aegypti – dezelfde mug die zika verspreid. De symptomen zijn koorts, spierpijn, hoofdpijn, overgeven, en uitputting. Ten minste de helft van de niet behandelde patiënten met zware gevallen van gele koorts sterft binnen tien tot veertien dagen.

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