WHO calls for emergency vaccination in Darfur as Yellow fever spreadsListen /
An emergency vaccination campaign is underway in Sudan's Darfur region to halt an outbreak of Yellow Fever, which the World Health Organization(WHO) now says is the largest in the world.
More than 700 people have so far contracted the disease with 165 deaths being reported.
The vaccination campaign is targeted to reach over 5.5 million people in all affected regions.
WHO, however says the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign may be hampered by the remoteness of the affected regions coupled with insecurity and the nomadic nature of communities living in the Darfur region.
WHO Representative in Sudan Dr Anshu Banerjee says the outbreak could worsen, if the disease reaches crowded urban centres.
"Most of the cases are amongst nomads and this is also he reason why the epidemic is sort of spreading throughout Darfur. The emergency response vaccination campaign will cover 5.5 million people and is conducted in three phases. The first one was for 2.2 million people. The second round of campaign will be conducted starting next week. The vaccines are arriving on Sunday in Sudan. And will cover urban areas and this is because once yellow fever hits an urban area it is possible that there is faster transmission from mosquito to human being rather than in rural areas where the monkey is the reservoir of the of the virus and transmission is slower."
Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes. There is no specific treatment for the disease and vaccination is the single most important measure for preventing the disease.
Patrick Maigua UN Radio, Geneva.