18 Jan 2017

Yellow fever outbreak in Brazil

Advice for travellers and health professionals Yellow fever outbreak in Brazil

On 6 Jan 2017, the Brazilian government reported 12 suspected cases of yellow fever, including 5 deaths, in Minas Gerais, South-eastern Brazil. The onset of symptoms for the first case was 18 December 2016 [1].

On 13 January 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that a total of 110 suspected cases, including 30 deaths, had been reported from 15 municipalities of Minas Gerais; see map [2].

As of 16 January 2017, the State Secretariat of Health of Minas Gerais reported 152 suspected cases of yellow fever, with 47 deaths. These cases are still regarded as sylvatic [3]. 

In 2016, an increase in the number of yellow fever outbreaks in animals (epizootic) in Brazil was reported compared to previous years [1].

There is a known risk of yellow fever transmission in Minas Gerais and vaccination is recommended.  Local vaccine coverage rates are however relatively low and could accelerate spread to neighbouring areas with favourable environments for yellow fever transmission. WHO is supporting Brazilian health authorities in implementing several measures to respond to the outbreak [1, 2]. Response efforts are complicated by the fact that this outbreak is occurring in the context of simultaneous outbreaks of chikungunya, dengue and Zika.

Advice for travellers

Yellow fever is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. You should take insect bite avoidance measures, day and night, when visiting countries with a risk of any disease transmitted by insects.

If you are travelling to or through areas of Brazil or any other countries with risk of yellow fever; as well as mosquito bite avoidance, vaccination is recommended for your personal protection.

Full details of yellow fever vaccination recommendations for countries can be found on our Country Information pages. Details of the countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination as a condition of entry under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) are also provided. Travellers are reminded that countries may change their certificate requirements at short notice.

Advice for health professionals

When undertaking yellow fever risk assessment, health professionals should refer to the individual Country Information pages, where detail relating to risk areas, recommendation for yellow fever vaccination and IHR (2005) certificate requirements are available. Some travellers may require vaccination for certificate purposes.

Map of the current areas where yellow fever vaccine is recommended in the Americas

Health professionals are also encouraged to access the Outbreak Surveillance Database, where the details of outbreaks are posted.

Under the International Health Regulations (2005), countries are no longer required to automatically report yellow fever outbreaks to the WHO and surveillance and reporting of yellow fever in risk countries can be poor.


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