World health report

Press release

Epidemics of 1995

The report covers the state of world health in 1995, with a special focus on infectious diseases, many of which caused lethal epidemics during the year. These included:

An epidemic of dengue fever in 14 countries or territories of central and south America, which struck more than 200 000 people. Dengue haemorrhagic fever, a complication of the initial infection, killed 24 000 people worldwide, with almost 600 000 cases.

Epidemics of cholera in south America, Africa and eastern Europe caused at least 11 000 deaths, with about 384 000 cases worldwide.

The biggest epidemic of yellow fever in the Americas since 1950 struck in Peru; other epidemics of the disease hit western Africa, causing thousands of cases in Liberia.

The Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreak in Zaire killed 245 people, or about 80% of the 316 cases.

Diphtheria epidemics that began in the Russian Federation in 1990, have since spread to a total of 15 countries in eastern Europe, causing tens of thousands of cases and many hundreds of deaths. WHO estimates that there were about 8 000 diphtheria deaths and 100 000 cases worldwide last year.