The European Union is sending a medical team – the European Medical Corps or EMC – to Angola to help the country tackle the recent outbreak of yellow fever. Since December last year, 260 people have succumbed to yellow fever in Angola and a total of 2000 cases have been reported. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, commented regarding the outbreak of yellow fever in the West African country that the EU had taken lessons from the Ebola crisis.
Mr. Stylianides said that “Today, we are deploying a first team of public health experts as part of the European Medical Corps. They will complement the efforts of the Angolan government and work closely with the World Health Organization and other international partners on the ground to deal with the yellow fever outbreak. Together we can understand it better and stop it faster.” The EMC was established in February this year with the aim to create capacity in the EU to deal with health emergencies. The founding of the EMC was mostly triggered by the Ebola crisis in Western Africa.
The mission in Angola will be the team’s first ever deployment and it will consist of experts from Germany, Portugal and Belgium. The two-week mission will investigate the reasons behind the outbreak of the disease and assess the risk of spreading to other countries. The team will also look into the implications for European travellers in Angola and those returning to the EU. Some of the Angolan cases are believed to have spread to Kenya, DR Congo, Mauretania and China. Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. There is a vaccination but no cure. The World Health Organization reported that about one fourth of Angola’s 24 million population has been vaccinated.