Updated March 19, 2013 - The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) of Sudan and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there is an outbreak of yellow fever in Sudan. This ongoing outbreak started in early September and has affected 35 localities in Greater Darfur. A total of 849 suspected cases, including 171 deaths, have been reported as of January 9, 2013. Most suspected cases have been reported from Central, South, and West Darfur. WHO is assisting the FMOH of Sudan in the response activities. An emergency mass vaccination campaign to protect people at risk and to stop the spread of yellow fever in the affected areas is currently ongoing with support from international partners.
Yellow fever is always a potential health risk in areas south of the Sahara Desert in Sudan. However, this outbreak of human cases suggests a higher than usual risk of infection for travelers to the Greater Darfur region. Travelers to this area of Sudan are advised to get vaccinated against yellow fever and to take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
What Is Yellow Fever?
Yellow fever is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms take 3-6 days to develop and include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. Most people get well on their own, but about 15% of people develop a more serious form of yellow fever that includes jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), internal bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.
How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?
Travelers can protect themselves from yellow fever by getting vaccinated against yellow fever and by preventing mosquito bites.
- CDC recommends that all travelers 9 months of age or older receive a yellow fever vaccine if they are traveling to areas south of the Sahara Desert. The vaccine is not recommended for people traveling only to the Sahara Desert or the city of Khartoum.
Visit a yellow fever vaccination (travel) clinic to get your vaccine.
You should receive this vaccine at least 10 days before your trip
After you receive the vaccine, your doctor or nurse should give you a signed and stamped “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis” (ICVP).
One vaccine will last 10 years.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
Use an insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
IR3535 (Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus)
Always use insect repellent as directed.
If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
Reapply as directed.