Yellow fever outbreaks in Africa require action, vaccination: WHO

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Outbreaks of deadly yellow fever in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo do not constitute a global health emergency but require stepped up surveillance and mass vaccination, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

The global stockpile of the vaccine should reach 7 million doses by the end of May and up to 17 million in late August, enough to combat the current outbreaks but not if the virus spreads in Africa or Asia and causes "potentially explosive" outbreaks in urban areas, WHO expert Dr. Bruce Aylward said.

"With 2,400 suspect cases in just four months and with the high mortality rate of 300 dead (in Angola) it reinforced the potentially explosive nature of this disease and the risk internationally," Aylward said, reporting on the results of WHO's first emergency committee on the outbreak.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Angus MacSwan)