Yellow Fever

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is a severe, potentially fatal, flu-like viral disease found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It is spread by infected mosquitoes. Humans are the only hosts. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, fatigue, muscle aches, back pain, and loss of appetite. In more severe cases, jaundice, abdominal pain, and hemorrhagic (bleeding) manifestations can occur.

Signs and Symptoms of Yellow Fever

The signs and symptoms of yellow fever can range from mild to severe. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • High fever (104°F or 40°C) or higher
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen glands
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Bleeding nose and gums
  • Dizziness
  • Reynolds syndrome (antibody complex that can cause neurological problems, kidney damage, and even death)

How is Yellow Fever Transmitted?

Yellow fever is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on the blood of an infected human or animal. After a mosquito has bitten an infected person, the virus multiplies in the mosquito’s body and is then passed on to another person when the mosquito bites again.

Prevention and Treatment

Yellow fever can be prevented by vaccination. The vaccine is available in many countries and is recommended for travelers to certain parts of the world. Another way to reduce the risk of contracting yellow fever is to avoid mosquito bites. Wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent, and staying indoors at night when mosquitoes are most active can help reduce the risk of being bitten.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Treatment consists of supportive care, such as providing fluids and monitoring vital signs. People with severe cases of yellow fever may require hospitalization. A yellow fever vaccine is available and is recommended for people traveling to areas where there is a risk of contracting the virus.