National emergency called in Paraguay over yellow fever

February 16th, 2008 - 1:06 pm ICT by admin  

Asuncion (Paraguay), Feb 16 (DPA) The government of Paraguay has called a national emergency to help stem the growing number of cases of yellow fever. Friday’s move comes two months before presidential elections.

Six cases of the mosquito-borne illness were reported around the capital city to date, but the outbreak raises considerably the danger it will spread regionally into an epidemic, the officials said.

The government is distributing preventive medications free of charge.

The South American country has petitioned the international community for vaccination serum, accommodate the growing demand at hospitals and clinics for the injections.

An estimated 200,000 people worldwide become ill with yellow fever every year, of which 30,000 die. The disease is especially endemic in Africa.

Last month, neighbouring Brazil reported rising numbers of yellow fever deaths. Of the 10 confirmed cases since the beginning of January, seven resulted in death.

The Brazilian state of Goias remains the main focus of worry for health authorities. A broad vaccination campaign has been launched, along with a campaign to eradicate the aedes aegypti mosquito from urban areas.

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