Not an Emergency, but Threat Persists

West Africa’s yellow fever outbreak, while still serious, is not a public health emergency under WHO criteria, the organization concluded at its second emergency meeting on the issue yesterday.

The decision followed a month with no new transmissions in Angola, where the outbreak originated; and progress meeting vaccination targets in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which still harbors suspected cases, CIDRAP reports.

Commenting on the decision, Lawrence Gostin, University Professor and faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, said the outbreak still points to the need to expand the ring of vaccination and boost fragile health systems in the outbreak’s circle. “Beyond that, WHO must lead a well-funded global research and development campaign to develop new technologies for rapid vaccine production that does not rely on the old egg-based technologies, which are inherently slow,” he added.

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