Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus that is mainly found in tropical areas of Africa, Central and South America.
This disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. This mosquito bites at any time of the day, particularly when the sun rises and sets.
Oftentimes, those who contract yellow fever do not have any symptoms. If symptoms develop, they can take 3 to 6 days to appear and can take many forms:
Symptoms tend to disappear after 3 to 4 days and the person recovers. In rare instances, however, it progresses into a more severe form of the disease. This second phase is characterized by severe symptoms, including:
- High fever
- Internal bleeding
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- Organ failure, including liver and kidney failure
This severe form of yellow fever can be deadly.
Vaccination is recommended for all travellers going to areas where yellow fever is present. The vaccine is very effective and provides life-long prevention and a booster dose is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 10 days of being vaccinated.
People who receive this vaccine do not usually experience any side effects. In rare cases however, individuals who are vaccinated experience weakness, stomach discomfort and headache.
Many nations require yellow fever vaccination as a measure to prevent the introduction of the disease in their country.
In addition to vaccination, certain measures should be taken during your stay to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. For example:
There is no cure for yellow fever. Treatment involves rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using pain relievers to reduce fever and aches.
In the week following your return from a trip, monitor yourself closely for any signs or symptoms that could indicate yellow fever virus infection.
When should I see a healthcare professional?
Government of Canada - Diseases and conditions