Emergencies preparedness, response

Photo essay on yellow fever vaccination campaign in West Africa

In November 2009, the largest yellow fever mass vaccination campaign in 50 years took place in three West African countries at high risk of the disease - Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It can cause severe illness and death. The disease is very difficult to diagnose in the early stages of infection and up to 50% of people severely affected can die from the disease. There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. However, just one dose of yellow fever vaccine offers full protection against infection.

In the past two decades, the number of yellow fever cases has increased due to several factors, including declining population immunity to infection, deforestation, urbanization, population movement and climate change.

These photos describe the first mass vaccination campaign in which yellow fever vaccination was simultaneously launched across several countries, targeting a population of 11.9 million.

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