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Jamaica bars entry of visitors from yellow fever-affected countries without vaccination

20 May 2016, 17:29

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Visitors traveling from yellow fever-affected countries will not be allowed to enter Jamaica without proofs of vaccination, the health ministry said Thursday.

The ban was introduced after several foreigners, who came from yellow fever-affected countries and failed to show their vaccination proofs, were detained by authorities on Wednesday at the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica's most popular tourist destination.

The detainees were released after further checks found that they had not showed any signs of the illness, the ministry said in a statement.

Facing the current yellow-fever outbreak in Angola and its spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, China and Kenya, the ministry stressed the importance of vaccination for visitors traveling to and from the affected countries.

"Jamaica, like several other countries, requires proofs of vaccination from travelers coming from countries that have the yellow fever endemic, and those currently experiencing active transmission," the statement said.

Jamaicans who have traveled to the affected countries will be quarantined for 10 days if they cannot provide proofs of vaccination.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Its symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of them die within seven to 10 days.

A single dose vaccination, however, provides protection for life and is both safe and affordable. It is effective 10 days after the date of immunization.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that the urban yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a serious public health event, but does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern at this time.

- Xinhua


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