The World Health Organization has announced that an emergency meeting will take place next week to discuss counter-measures for a yellow fever outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.
An estimated 500 individuals have already been killed across the two African countries, according to the international charity Save The Children, which warned last week that the outbreak could soon spread globally if not contained.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters on Tuesday that Director-General Margaret Chan had asked the committee of independent experts to meet on August 31 to analyse the situation and respond accordingly.
A large-scale vaccination campaign is already under way, with 14 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to be immunised against the acute viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes.
Makeshift clinics were set up last week in churches and schools across Kinshasa, DRC’s densely populated capital, as well as other regions bordering Angola.
An additional three million people have already been vaccinated, as well as 13 million in Angola.
There is no specific treatment for the viral haemorrhagic disease which is found in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America’s Amazon region.
Vaccination is the best preventive measure against the disease.
Poor sanitation has been the main cause of the outbreak as it provides a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes.