26 July 2011

Kenya: Reprieve As Yellow Fever Risk Lowered

Residents of Nairobi, Mombasa and several other parts of the country may soon be able to travel to yellow fever-free countries without being asked to produce a certificate of vaccination.

Likewise, foreigners may also visit these areas without having to be vaccinated against yellow fever after the areas were reclassified as low-risk zones.

This means Kenyans who can prove extended residence in the exempted areas may not require vaccination when they travel to yellow fever free countries.

In a revised global yellow fever risk map and recommendations for vaccination, to be published next month, Nairobi and Mombasa are now classified as low risk zones.

Endemic zones

Previously, the World Health Organisation classified the whole country as disease endemic and recommended vaccination for all travellers aged nine months or older.

The entire North Eastern Province, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Malindi and Tana River in Coast Province have also been classified as areas with low potential for exposure.

According to the new reclassification, travellers to and from low risk areas may no require to produce proof of vaccination.

Tanzania, which was previously in the WHO map of yellow fever endemic zones, is now reclassified as a low risk zone.

"Tanzania was previously classified as endemic. However, no cases of yellow fever in human beings or in non-human primates have been reported," says an advance online report posted in The Lancet on Tuesday.

The whole of Uganda and parts of Somalia, however, remain classified as high-risk areas.

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