Emergencies preparedness, response

Yellow Fever – China

Disease Outbreak News
29 March 2016

On 13 March 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of China notified WHO of an imported case of yellow fever virus infection.

The case is a 32-year-old Chinese male, who works in Luanda, Angola. The patient reported fever and chills on 8 March. He travelled from Luanda to China, arriving in Beijing on March 10. He immediately visited a hospital in Beijing. On 11 March, the patient tested positive for yellow fever virus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). On 12 March, Laboratory results were confirmed by China CDC. Currently, the patient is in critical condition with liver and kidney dysfunction. He did not receive vaccination against yellow fever prior to symptom onset.

Public health response

The Chinese government has strengthened surveillance and vector monitoring, and carried out vector control and risk communication activities.

WHO risk assessment

This is the first imported case of yellow fever to China. The risk for further transmission is considered to be minimal as it is not the active season for the competent vector, the Aedes aegypti, in Beijing and the current temperatures (around 10°C) are not favourable for an increase in vector density.

WHO advice

This report of yellow fever infection in a previously non-immunised traveller returning from a country where vaccination against the disease is mandatory underlines the need to reinforce the implementation of vaccination requirements, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005). Therefore, WHO urges Members States especially those where the establishment of a local cycle of transmission is possible (i.e. where the competent vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, is present) to strengthen the control of immunisation status of travellers to all potentially endemic areas.