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Colombian authorities declare yellow fever health emergency

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Bogota, Sep 3 (EFE).- Colombian authorities on Wednesday declared a health emergency in a jungle region in the northeastern department of Norte de Santander where a three-month-old outbreak of yellow fever has reached epidemic proportions.

Deputy Health Minister Juan Gonzalo Lopez said the measure would facilitate the buying and distributing of vaccines to those at risk of being infected by the mosquito-carrying disease.

Since the outbreak emerged, 26 people have died of yellow fever and 72 other cases have been confirmed in the region, according to the National Health Institute.

The institue said that 84 percent of those cases were men with an average age of 21.

Health authorities in Bogota said they wanted to expand a vaccination campaign in Norte de Santander to include the neighboring departments of Cesar, La Guajira, Bolivar Magdalena and Arauca. EFE

Copyright 2003 Efe. All Rights Reserved.

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