Kase informs public not to panic over Yellow Fever outbreak

National Department of Health Secretary Pascoe Kase has called on all people not to panic about reports on the Yellow Fever outbreak in Angola, Africa.

“There is no Yellow Fever in the country,” Kase said.

But Kase has warned travellers to be wary of contracting the disease while travelling to other countries as efforts are underway by the international community to control the outbreak and prevent further spread of the fever.

Yellow Fever is a viral illness spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same mosquito that can spread other diseases such as dengue and Zika, according to the Secretary.

“Yellow Fever occurs in certain countries in Africa and Central America. There is no Yellow Fever in Papua New Guinea (PNG) that can be transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes unless an infected person comes to PNG,” he said.

The infection with Yellow Fever virus can result in no symptoms or a mild fever or can progress to a severe form involving damage to the liver or yellowing of the skin and eyes from which Yellow Fever gets its name and sometimes death, the Secretary said.

Kase said that the African country of Angola has been experiencing a large outbreak of Yellow Fever since December 2015 so far causing over 2000 cases and 260 deaths. One case has been reported in China in the Asia-Pacific Region.

“These cases have largely been due to failure of individuals to be properly vaccinated against Yellow Fever,” he said.

“The primary prevention for the fever is a very safe and effective vaccine. A single dose of Yellow Fever vaccine is protective for life. The list of affected countries is available from the World Health Organization at: http://www.who.int/ith/2016-ith-annex1.pdf,” he said.

As Yellow fever vaccine is not widely available in PNG, the Secretary warns travellers from PNG that anyone planning to travel to countries affected by the fever should consult with their medical provider and plan well in advance including allowing ten days after vaccination for the vaccine to take effect before arriving in the affected country.

“Similarly, travellers returning from countries affected by Yellow Fever will be required to show proof of vaccination before being allowed re-entry into PNG,” he said.

“Any traveller who becomes sick shortly after returning from overseas should seek medical advice immediately. Healthcare workers should report any suspicious illnesses immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kase wanted the people to take personal responsibility to avoid getting mosquito bites and by destroying mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

He also said that the Health Department will work closely with the Immigration and Citizenship Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs to monitor international points of entry for detection of Yellow fever.

The Secretary wishes to reassure the public that any relevant developments concerning the global Yellow Fever virus situation will be communicated by his office.


Picture:  Pascoe Kase – public should not panic about Yellow Fever

Press Release