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Yellow Fever

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Although it is a rare disease, many countries require that visitors have the yellow fever vaccination prior to entering the country.

Generally, yellow fever only occurs in Africa and South America. In South America (especially Brazil), infections occur sporadically, and usually among forestry and agricultural workers. In Africa, infections occur primarily in the tropical areas of western and central, but also in urban locations as well as jungle regions.

Who is at risk for contracting yellow fever?

Yellow fever can affect both sexes, all ages and races.

How is yellow fever spread?

A certain type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is most often responsible for transmitting the virus.

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

The following are the most common symptoms of yellow fever. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • flu-like symptoms (i.e., fever, headache, vomiting, and backache)
  • slow and weak pulse
  • bleeding of the gums
  • bloody urine
  • jaundice

Symptoms usually occur within three to six days after exposure. The symptoms of yellow fever may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

How can yellow fever be prevented?

There is a vaccine available for yellow fever. Because transmission of yellow fever no longer occurs within the United States, it is important for travelers to talk with their physicians about the need to be immunized prior to visiting areas where yellow fever still exists.

It is believed that people who have had yellow fever develop lifelong immunity.

Treatment for yellow fever:

Specific treatment for yellow fever will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your overall health and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

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Online Resources of Travel Medicine

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