Yellow Fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease. It is very
similar in symptom presentation to influenza, as well as hepatitis.
According to the CDC, the disease occurs only in sub-Saharan
Africa and tropical South America, where it is endemic.
Yellow Fever symptoms are similar in presentation to influenza,
with high fevers, chills, tremors, headaches, muscle aches,
vomiting, and generalized joint aches present. After a brief
period of recovery, usually only a few days, the illness can
progress rather rapidly to hemorrhaging and shock, which can
affect the liver, and individuals do subsequently exhibit
the classic, telltale yellowing (jaundice) of the skin, hence
the name Yellow Fever.
The fatality rate is greater than 20%, with infants, children
and the elderly at greatest risk. The risk of illness and
death due to Yellow Fever in an unvaccinated traveler is estimated
to be 1:1,000, 1:5,000/month. This is based on an approximately
2-week journey. In addition to vaccination, travelers should
wear long-sleeved shirts, try not to go out in the early morning
or late evening, wear Deet; they can use Permetharin applied
to their clothes. Please refer to Prevention of West Nile
Virus for more preventative measures. The Yellow Fever vaccine
is very safe and effective. The primary dose is .5 ml., and
one dose every 10 years is usually advised. When traveling,
a number of countries do require a certificate to show that
you are vaccinated against Yellow Fever.
Yellow Fever Vaccine Reactions
Reactions, if any, are very mild, and most commonly include
mild headaches, muscle aches and low-grade fevers. Some individuals
do exhibit a rash, with asthma-like symptoms, although these
are very uncommon, and occur most commonly in individuals
with a history of egg allergy. The risk of adverse reaction
appears to be age-related. Infants less than 6 months of age
should not be vaccinated, as they are most susceptible to
the severest reactions. It should be noted that the safety
of Yellow Fever vaccination during pregnancy has not been
established, although according to the CDC, pregnant women
who must travel to areas where risk of infection is high should
be vaccinated, despite the fact safety has not been established.
For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov.