US facing shortage of yellow fever vaccine for travelers

US facing shortage of yellow fever vaccine for travelers

"We're going from the yellow fever vaccine being available in 4,000 clinics across the country to only 250 clinics", he says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in their latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that because of recent manufacturing issues, the supply of the only yellow fever vaccine licensed in the United States, YF-VAX, is expected to be completely depleted by mid-2017.

Come July, the yellow fever vaccine could be tough to find.

The CDC said that it's working alongside the FDA and Sanofi Pasteur to ensure a continuous supply of the vaccine. Officials are bringing in another vaccine that's used in other countries, but it will be available at only about 250 of the 4,000 US clinics that give the shot.

"Although the systematic site selection process for the distribution of Stamaril took into account site volume (giving preference to larger sites) and adequate geographic reach, accessibility difficulties for some worldwide travelers might occur, because of the decrease in the number of clinics nationwide that provide yellow fever vaccination from 4,000 to 250", Gershman and colleagues wrote. However, an estimated 8 million US residents traveled to 42 countries with endemic yellow fever virus transmission in 2015, according to the CDC. During a yellow fever outbreak in Angola in 2016, the virus was exported to three countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although most infected individuals are asymptomatic, 15% will go on to develop severe disease; of those individuals, the case-fatality ratio can range from 20% to 50%.

After the crisis in Congo, six additional countries - Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Ghana, Peru and Uganda - reported either yellow fever outbreaks or sporadic cases not linked to the Angolan outbreak.

Yellow fever is a viral disease caused by the yellow fever virus, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of a virus-carrying mosquito mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.

Yellow fever is perhaps the most risky of those five, however.

Now, a growing outbreak in Brazil has health officials stretching the global supply once again.

More ominous in the Brazilian outbreak is the fact that the illness appears to be moving from its typical rural setting towards the cities.

The authors stressed that there's no evidence yet that mosquitoes are transmitting yellow fever between infected people.

"In the interest of national security, we have engaged them in planning for future requirements, which will support continued force readiness until such time as product from the new facility is available", Schroeder said. Once the shot is given, he says it lasts a lifetime with no booster required.

"The Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793, for example, killed approximately 10 percent of the city's population", Fauci and Paules noted.

The vaccine shortage comes as multiple yellow fever outbreaks have spread in different areas of the globe. Still other countries require travelers coming from a place where yellow fever spreads to prove they have been vaccinated. Early symptoms include a fever that can mimic flu, followed by a period of remission, and then a stage called "intoxication" - high fever, liver dysfunction and jaundice, and even kidney failure, heart and nervous system dysfunction, and shock.

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