Yellow Fever Virus

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow Fever is a virus, which is spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease exisits  in tropical areas of Africa and South America. While the disease is not found in Asia – the potential is there for spread due to the presence of the Ades mosquito, which is responsible for its spread.

Yellow Fever is recognised in two different forms – urban and jungle. Urban Yellow Fever occurs in the cities and is spread from mosquito to human to mosquito. In the jungle form Yellow Fever is spread from mosquitoes to monkeys and also to humans.

The disease presents itself after an incubation period of about 3-6 days with flu like symptoms, with death occurring in around 5% of those who become infected. There is no treatment for Yellow Fever, and so relief of symptoms is the primary course of action.

Who is at risk of Yellow Fever?

Any traveller to areas where Yellow Fever is endemic (that is: the infection is present in low levels) is at risk. This includes areas of Africa and South America.

How can I prevent Yellow Fever?

Travellers should obtain the necessary vaccination and a certificate of vaccination when travelling to endemic areas of the world.  This certificate is the ONLY internationally regulated certificate. The WHO recommends it for all travellers to endemic areas, as well as for those coming from an endemic area to an area of potential transmission. The purpose of the certificate is not only to protect the traveller but to also protect those in areas of the world where infection is possible due to the presence of the Ades mosquito. It is essential to ensure that the traveller plans ahead due to the shortages of vaccine at this present time.

Also see Preventing Bites.

  News and References 

  • May 2016 – Independent reports that “Yellow Fever – World on brink of global emergency over deadly outbreak, academics warn”
  • JAMA Article May 2016 – A Yellow Fever Epidemic
  • Find a Registered Yellow Fever Clinic near you

Note: This information is designed to complement and not replace the relationship that exists with your existing family doctor or travel health professional.  Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor or practice nurse.