The arboviruses National Reference Center at the Institut Pasteur in French Guiana confirmed a case of infection with yellow fever virus in the guyanese territory. The last case of yellow fever diagnosed in French Guiana, already identified by the Institut Pasteur, dates back to 1998.
According to the Regional Health Agency, the patient who died on August 9 at the hospital in Cayenne had a history of stay in the forest and could have been contaminated in the border area of Oiapoque in Brazil. The Institut Pasteur in French Guaina confirmed the infection by serology (presence of antibodies directed against the yellow fever virus) and by directly demonstrating the presence of the genomic materials of the virus in the biological samples of the patient. The amplification of the virus by cell culture as well as the genetic characterization of the viral strain are currently under way.
Viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, yellow fever poses a real threat to public health in the Americas. In particular, a major epidemic affected Brazil at the beginning of the year with nearly 800 confirmed or probable cases obliging the authorities to declare last January a state of emergency in Minas Gerais, the state most affected by the epidemic outbreak. Vaccination that provides life-long immunity is the most effective preventive measure against this hemorrhagic fever.
The Institut Pasteur in French Guiana, like many other members of the Institut Pasteur Internationalk Network, plays an essential role in surveillance and alert of infectious emergencies. Led by Dr Dominique Rousset, the National Arbovirus Reference Center had already confirmed the first cases of Zika infections in Surinam and French Guiana in 2015.