What is Yellow Fever?
Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by the yellow fever virus. It is found in certain parts of Africa and South America.
Yellow fever is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread person to person by direct contact.
Yellow Fever Symptoms
People with yellow fever disease usually have to be hospitalized. Yellow fever can cause:
- fever and flu-like symptoms
- jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
- bleeding from multiple body sites
- liver, kidney, respiratory and other organ failure
- death (20% – 50% of serious cases)
What is the risk of acquiring Yellow Fever?
For a 2-week stay, the risks for illness and death due to yellow fever for an unvaccinated traveller traveling to an endemic area in:
- West Africa are 50 per 100,000 and 10 per 100,000, respectively
- South America are 5 per 100,000 and 1 per 100,000, respectively
These estimates are a rough guideline based on the risk to local populations, often during peak transmission season. Thus, these risk estimates may not accurately reflect the true risk to travellers, who may have a different immunity profile, take precautions against getting bitten by mosquitoes, and have less outdoor exposure.
Areas with risk of Yellow Fever in South America
How can Yellow Fever be prevented?
The Yellow Fever vaccine can prevent Yellow Fever. This vaccine is given only at designated vaccination centers. After vaccination, you will be given a stamped and signed “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis” (yellow book). This certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination and is good for life. You will need this card as proof of vaccination to enter certain countries.
As Yellow Fever is transmitted by mosquito bites, mosquito avoidance will also minimize risk of infection. The following personal protective measures are therefore also very important:
-wearing clothes that cover most of your body,
-using an effective insect repellent, such as those containing DEET.
What are the risks of Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow Fever vaccine has been associated with fever, muscle aches, and local soreness, redness or swelling at the vaccination site on the arm. These problems occur in up to 1 in 4 persons vaccinated. They usually begin soon after the vaccination, and can last for up to one week.
- Severe allergic reaction to a vaccine component (about 1 person in 55,000).
- Severe nervous system reaction (about 1 person in 125,000).
- Life-threatening severe illness with organ failure (about 1 person in 250,000).
This risk is increased over the age of 60 ( 1in 100,000 age 60-69; 1 in 43000 age > 70)
Who should not be vaccinated?
- Anyone with a severe (life-threatening) allergy to eggs.
- Infants younger than 9 months of age
- It may not be advisable if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You have HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system.
- Your immune system is weakened as a result of cancer or other medical conditions, an organ or bone marrow transplant, or radiation or drug treatment (such as steroids, cancer chemotherapy, or other drugs that affect immune cell function).
- Your thymus has been removed or you have a thymus disorder, such as Myasthenia Gravis, DiGeorge syndrome, or Thymoma.
How long does the Yellow Fever vaccine last?
Yellow Fever vaccination provides life long protection
- You will need to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes, as this is the time period during which an allergic reaction may occur.
- Please contact our clinic if you have any concerns after you go home
If you require a Yellow Fever Vaccination, click here to make an appointment with Southgate Medical