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Colombia: No let-up in battle against yellow fever

01-10-2003 News Release 03/120

Last July, yellow fever hit northern Colombia.

The first deaths were in Honduras, a small hamlet in the mountains of Catatumbo (Norte de Santander). Fear spread throughout the region, and was made worse because fighting prevented access to health care. The death toll rose rapidly.

The Colombian health ministry and the national institute of health asked the ICRC to help. The organization carried out vaccination sessions in July (see ICRC News 03/85) and, between 16 and 22 September, accompanied a medical team conducting vaccinations and an epidemiological study in the department of La Guajira.

The ICRC has accompanied medical personnel on three occasions, making it possible for 2,372 people to receive vaccinations and 83 samples to be taken for analysis.

The ICRC made security arrangements with all armed groups concerned, ensuring that the medical team could work in the affected areas.

 Further information:  

 Carlos Ríos, ICRC Bogotá, tel. ++57 315 340 61 40  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 24 58