Juba, 29 November 2018 – The Ministry of Health has declared a Yellow Fever (YF) outbreak today (29 November) in Sakure, Nzara County, Gbudue state.
The declaration was preceded by a briefing meeting with His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan, to gain a high level political support, commitment and advocate for improved access to the affected area.
Addressing a press conference in Juba, Hon. Ms Awut Deng Acuil, the Acting Minister of Health, urged the general public to be vaccinated against yellow fever to protect themselves from the risk of yellow fever virus.
The suspected case was first reported on 23 November 2018, after the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) received a report of a suspected case of Ebola at the point of entry (PoE) in Sakure, a border town between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Following the reported suspect case, the Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and partners, deployed a rapid response team (RRT) composed of, SMoH Director-General, medical officer, Laboratory staff, nurse, WHO and other partners from Yambio Ebola Taskforce, for in-depth investigations as well as sample collection.
The preliminary GeneXpert testing at the National Public Health Laboratory was negative for Ebola Zaire. In the same way, follow up Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Entebbe was negative for all Ebola species, Marburg, Rift Valley Fever, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, and Sosuga viruses. Further testing of the sample at UVRI using Taqman Array Card platform and YF-specific PCR assay confirmed that the sample was PCR positive for Yellow Fever Virus.
The confirmation of the case automatically triggers the activation of the Yellow Fever Incident Management System (IMS) with an incident manager designated to coordinate response to this event including risk communication, surveillance and disease control to prevent further spread of the disease, said the Under Secretary, the Ministry of Health, Dr Makur Matur Koriom.
To enhance outbreak response efforts, the Ministry of Health will also send the national rapid response team to conduct follow up epidemiological; entomological; and laboratory investigations.
Addressing the same press conference, the acting WHO Country Representative in South Sudan, Mr Evans Liyosi commended the Ministry of Health for declaring the outbreak as the announcement enables the public to take prevention measures, helps health partners to take the necessary steps to contain the outbreak and unlocks the required resources for fighting the epidemic.
Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes belonging to the Aedes species. Yellow fever can lead to serious illness and even death. Yellow fever vaccine is the best protection against yellow fever disease, which can be fatal.
“Thank to the financial contributions from the European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department for International Development (DFID) allowed WHO to deploy experts and provide technical and logistical support,” said Mr Liyosi.
The press conference was attended by the media, high level government officials and the National Ebola Task Force among other.
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