ST KITTS — Health officials in St Kitts are monitoring reports of an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil to ensure that the endemic does not spread to the Federation.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws said the Ministry of Health was monitoring the situation after a traveller from the Netherlands went to Brazil and picked up the disease.
She said the ministry will also keep a close eye at ports of entry.
“We had a meeting this week at the ministry making plans to tighten the surveillance at our ports in terms of scheduling public health nurses around the clock at the airport and at the sea port. We will be looking at travellers who will be coming from countries where yellow fever is endemic and such travellers should be able to produce their yellow fever vaccination certificate,” she said.
Laws noted that the additional screening will also be done to all countries that have a yellow fever endemic.
“We will be looking at travellers coming from all the countries where yellow fever is endemic, not just South America,” she declared.
In a release last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that as of April 3, the transmission of the virus continues to expand towards the Atlantic coast of Brazil in areas not deemed to be at risk.
“Consequently, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended for international travellers visiting those areas in the States of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo,” the release stated.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms are similar to the flu and could become severe to include fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice — hence its name yellow fever.