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The Return of Yellow Fever

Before the horrors of the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa could begin to fade from our minds, the Zika virus emerged as a major global health risk, and is now occupying researchers and doctors in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Yet the death toll from another virus is rising fast: yellow fever.

SEATTLE – Before the horrors of the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa could even begin to fade from our minds, the Zika virus emerged as a major global health risk, and is now occupying researchers and doctors in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Yet the death toll from another virus is rising fast: yellow fever.

In southwestern Africa, Angola is facing a serious yellow fever epidemic – its first in 30 years. Since the virus emerged in Luanda, Angola’s capital and most populous city, last December, it has killed 293 people and infected a suspected 2,267. The virus has now spread to six of the country’s 18 provinces. Travelers have taken cases to China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya. Namibia and Zambia are on high alert.

Yellow fever virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti – the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. At least half of untreated patients with severe cases of yellow fever die within 10-14 days.

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