Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly, mosquito-borne disease. It’s caused by the yellow fever virus and is common in parts of Africa and South America. When an infected mosquito bites, it transmits the virus into the person’s bloodstream, leading to infection.

Symptoms of yellow fever usually develop 3 to 6 days after being infected and initially include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and vomiting. This initial phase typically lasts for three to four days.

In some cases, a second, more severe phase may occur. This is known as toxic phase. Symptoms during this phase may include jaundice (which gives the disease its name, Yellow Fever), abdominal pain, vomiting (potentially with blood), bleeding from the nose, and even organ failure.

Yellow fever

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent yellow fever. The Yellow Fever vaccine provides lifelong protection for most people. Travelers to regions where yellow fever is prevalent are generally required to be vaccinated against the disease.

In areas where yellow fever is common, prevention measures include controlling mosquito populations and encouraging people to use mosquito repellents or nets to reduce exposure to mosquito bites.

Causes of Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease caused by the Yellow Fever virus. It is primarily spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person by direct contact.

Here are the primary causes:

1. Mosquito Bites: People contract yellow fever through the bite of an infected female mosquito. The Aedes or Haemagogus species, which typically breed in tropic and subtropic areas, are common carriers of this virus.

2. Travel or Living in Infected Areas: Traveling or living in areas where the virus is common can significantly increase the risk of getting infected. This mainly includes parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, parts of the Caribbean, and Central America.

3. Unvaccinated: Those who did not get the vaccination for yellow fever are at the highest risk of contraction. Vaccination is an effective prevention method, giving immunity and lifelong protection against the virus within 30 days of its administration.

Remember it’s important to note that monkeys and humans are primary hosts of Yellow fever. Monkeys in the wild get infected with yellow fever through mosquito bites and then further spread the virus around to other mosquitos, which can then infect humans.

The virus cannot spread directly from one person to another or from an animal to a human. A mosquito bite is necessary for transmission. Yellow fever can vary in severity from a self-limiting illness to severe liver disease with bleeding.

Risk Factors of Yellow fever

Yellow Fever is a viral infection found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. It’s transmitted through the bite of infected female mosquitoes, primarily of the Aedes aegypti species. Risk factors for Yellow Fever include:

1. Travel or Living in Infected Areas: Traveling to or residing in regions where Yellow Fever cases are reported heightens the risk of getting infected. These places mostly include parts of Africa and South America.

2. Vaccination: Not being vaccinated against Yellow Fever can highly increase the chance of acquiring the disease. The vaccine offers immunity within one week for 95% of people.

3. Occupation: People who work outdoors, especially during peak mosquito-biting hours (i.e. dawn and dusk), have a greater risk of infection because of prolonged exposure to mosquito habitats.

4. Timing: Mosquitoes that carry Yellow Fever virus are most active during dusk and dawn, thus increasing the risk during these times.

5. Age: Severe cases of Yellow Fever are more common in older adults and children.

6. Immunosuppression: Having a weakened immune system can increase the risk of getting infected with Yellow Fever.

Apart from these, climatic conditions, local epidemic patterns, and the proximity to a mosquito breeding site can also significantly increase the risk factor. It’s advisable to get vaccinated and follow preventive measures like using insect repellents and wearing clothing that covers as much body as possible if one is in an area with Yellow Fever risk.

Signs and Symptoms of Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes. Signs and symptoms may vary, but generally include:

1. Initial Stage: The onset of yellow fever is often sudden and can be confused with other illnesses such as the flu. Symptoms in this stage could last up to four days and may include:

Joint and muscle pain
Nausea or vomiting
Loss of appetite

2. Remission Phase: After the initial stage of yellow fever, symptoms may decrease and this stage could last up to 24 hours. Some people may completely recover during this phase.

3. Intoxication Stage: However, for some people, a more severe stage of yellow fever develops. In the intoxication stage, symptoms could be life-threatening and may include:

High fever
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Dark urine
Abdominal pain
Bleeding from the nose, mouth, and eyes
Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
Decreased urination
Irregular heart rhythm
Kidney and liver failure

Please note that you should seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that you or someone else may be suffering from yellow fever. No definitive treatment is available other than supportive care, which includes rest, fluids, and use of pain relievers and medication to reduce fever. The key preventive measure against yellow fever is vaccination and avoidance of mosquito bites.

Diagnosis Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease spread by mosquitoes. It’s named after the jaundice that some people develop, which gives a yellow appearance to their skin and eyes. The disease is most common in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.

The diagnosis of yellow fever is usually based on the patient’s symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Symptoms may include fever, chills, severe headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. In severe cases, it can cause heart, liver, or kidney problems, bleeding disorders, and jaundice.

Diagnostic laboratory tests include blood tests to check for the presence of the virus or antibodies produced in response to it.

It’s important to quickly diagnose and treat yellow fever due to its potential severity. There’s no specific treatment for the disease, but symptomatic relief can be provided through fluid therapy, pain relief, and other supportive treatments. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent yellow fever.

Treatment of Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease spread by mosquitoes. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundice. Yellow fever is most prevalent in certain parts of Africa and South America.

Treatment of yellow fever involves managing symptoms and aiding recovery as there’s currently no specific antiviral treatment for the disease itself. Here’s a general course of treatment:

1. Hospitalization: This is often required for severe cases of yellow fever.

2. Rehydration: Oral or intravenous fluids can assist in maintaining hydration.

3. Pain relief: Paracetamol or acetaminophen may be given to relieve fever and aches. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin are typically avoided because they increase the risk of bleeding.

4. Blood transfusions: These may be required for severe yellow fever cases.

5. Dialysis: If kidney function becomes impaired, dialysis may be necessary.

6. Breathing support: For those with severe illness, it may be required to have machine-assisted breathing.

It’s important to note that prevention is key for yellow fever. In areas where the disease is common, vaccination is recommended. This is usually a one-time injection that provides lifelong immunity.

The use of insect repellents, wearing appropriate clothing and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens and nets can reduce mosquito bites. Mosquito control programs and public awareness can also reduce the risk of yellow fever.

Please remember: While this advice is generally true, variations might occur based on the specific patient health status or regional treatment guidelines. For a definite diagnosis and treatment, consult a healthcare provider.

Medications commonly used for Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease typically spread by mosquitoes in certain parts of Africa and South America. Currently, there isn’t a specific antiviral drug to treat yellow fever, but supportive treatments can help to manage symptoms and improve the survival rate.

However, there is an effective vaccine for yellow fever prevention. The yellow fever vaccine is a live, weakened version of the virus. It stimulates the immune system to generate a response, which includes the production of antibodies that protect against yellow fever infection. The vaccine is typically given as a single shot and it provides lifelong immunity for most people. Some individuals, such as certain health workers or those traveling to high risk areas might require a booster dose.

The vaccine is recommended for most people over 9 months old who are traveling to or living in areas where yellow fever is found, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. However, it’s not suitable for everyone, including pregnant women, individuals with severe allergies to the vaccine components, and individuals with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes.

Maintaining hydration, controlling fever and pain with appropriate medications and treating any other co-existing infections are part of the supportive care for individuals with yellow fever.

Always consult a healthcare provider for advice before traveling to areas where yellow fever is present and for any medical interventions related to the disease.

Prevention of Yellow fever

Yellow fever prevention revolves around two primary areas: vaccination and prevention of mosquito bites.

1. Vaccination: The most effective way to prevent yellow fever is to get vaccinated. The yellow fever vaccine is safe and affordable, providing effective immunity against the disease within one week for 95% of people who are vaccinated.

Yellow fever

2. Mosquito Control: In addition to getting vaccinated, you should also take steps to avoid mosquito bites, especially in areas where yellow fever is common. This can include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, and using bed nets.

3. Use of Repellents: Products with ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus can be applied to skin or clothing for added protection.

4. Timing: Since the mosquitoes that spread yellow fever are more active during daylight, it’s important to take preventive steps especially during the day.

5. Water Management: Stagnant water attracts mosquitoes. Hence, to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, manage water storage and dispose off potential mosquito breeding spots such as tires, pots, cans and other receptacles that can gather water.

Remember, individuals planning travel to areas where yellow fever is common should seek medical advice regarding vaccination and other preventive measures at least 10 days prior to their travel.

FAQ’s about Yellow fever

1. What is Yellow Fever?
Yellow fever is a serious viral infection that’s usually spread by a specific type of mosquito known as Aedes aegypti. It is prevalent in certain parts of Africa and South America.

2. What are the symptoms of Yellow Fever?
Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can cause heart, liver, and kidney problems along with bleeding (hemorrhaging).

3. Is Yellow Fever deadly?
Severe cases of yellow fever can be fatal. However, most people recover after the initial phase with appropriate rest and hydration.

4. Is there a vaccine available for Yellow Fever?
Yes, there is a vaccine available for yellow fever. It is typically recommended for those who are traveling to areas where yellow fever is endemic.

5. How frequently should the Yellow Fever vaccine be taken?
A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and lifelong protection against yellow fever disease, and a booster dose is not needed.

6. Can Yellow Fever be treated?
There’s no specific antiviral treatment for yellow fever. However, the symptoms can be treated. In severe cases, immediate hospitalization is required where the patient can receive treatment for dehydration, liver and kidney failure, and fever.

7. How does one prevent Yellow Fever?
Apart from vaccination, prevention strategies include using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying in air-conditioned or screened accommodations when traveling to areas where yellow fever is common.

8. Are there any side effects to the Yellow Fever vaccine?
Side effects from the vaccine are generally mild and can include headaches, muscle pain, mild fever, and soreness at the injection site.

Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider or travel medicine specialist when planning travel to areas where yellow fever may be present.

Useful links

Yellow Fever is a viral infection transmitted by a bite from infected mosquitoes most commonly found in parts of South America and Africa. Yellow fever can cause fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. Severe cases of yellow fever can be fatal.

Here are some useful links to journals that provide more in-depth information about Yellow Fever:


Remember, for professional medical advice or diagnosis, please consult a healthcare provider. The information I’ve provided is general and educational.

Complications of Yellow fever

Yellow Fever is an acute viral disease that is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes or Haemagogus species mosquitoes. Although most people infected with Yellow Fever will have mild symptoms or none at all, a small percentage can have a severe form of the disease with serious complications. Some complications include:

1. Yellow Fever Infection: As the infection progresses, it can damage the liver, heart, and the gastrointestinal tract. In severe cases, this can result in high fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, and backache.

2. Jaundice: After 3-4 days of infection, the disease can lead to significant liver damage causing yellowing of skin and eyes, giving the disease its name, Yellow Fever.

3. Hemorrhagic Fever: In severe cases, yellow fever can cause bleeding, shock, and organ failure. This could lead to bloody vomit or stools due to internal bleeding.

4. Heart, liver, and kidney failure: These are all potential complications of yellow fever, leading to a lethal outcome without intensive care. One of the typical complications is “hepatorenal syndrome,” where a damaging cycle of liver and kidney failure sets in.

5. Neurological Complications: Some people may develop life-threatening neurological complications, such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), which can lead to seizures, coma, and possibly death.

6. Delirium: As the virus invades the central nervous system, it can cause delirium.

If not treated promptly and effectively, serious complications from Yellow Fever can be deadly. Hence, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccination for people living in or traveling to areas where the disease is common. The yellow fever vaccine is very effective and usually provides lifelong immunity against the disease.

Home remedies of Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly, disease that’s transmitted by certain mosquitoes. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundish, and it can cause damage to the liver and other internal organs.

However, it’s important to understand that there are NO home remedies or treatments for yellow fever. It’s a serious disease that requires immediate professional medical attention. If a person is suspected to have contracted yellow fever, they should get to a hospital as quickly as possible.

It’s also crucial to note that yellow fever is preventable through vaccination. If you’re traveling to an area where yellow fever is common, the best home remedy is prevention – get vaccinated, use mosquito repellant, and take precautions to avoid getting bitten.

In some mild cases, patients may be advised to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and use over-the-counter pain reducers and medications to bring down fever, but these do not treat the disease itself – they simply manage symptoms.

Again, reaching out to a healthcare provider immediately is the safest course of action.

Overall, professional medical help is the only remedy for this disease. Home remedies or ignoring the symptoms can lead to more serious consequences.

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Last Update: January 12, 2024