Yellow Fever

What is Yellow Fever?

The World Health Organisation reports that there are about 200,000 cases of yellow fever, resulting in 30,000 fatalities, worldwide each year. The most important step in preventing yellow fever is a yellow fever vaccination prior to travel. 

The yellow fever jab is available at your local Superdrug travel health and yellow fever centre. You need to arrange your vaccine for a date at least ten days before you travel. Once you have received the vaccine, you are protected for ten years. After ten years, you will require a booster before travelling into a risk area again.

Before entering a yellow fever area, you may be required to produce a yellow fever certificate, which is called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Other risk destinations may not ask you for a certificate, but if visiting a risk area you still need to have the vaccination. Please bear in mind, your yellow fever certificate will only become valid ten days after the injection. 

The side effects of the yellow fever vaccine are usually mild and temporary. They involve headache, a mild fever and muscle pain. Some patients report that the injection site feels sore.

Yellow fever is a viral infection, which is passed on by a particular type of mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the virus, occurs primarily in African and South American countries. The mosquito's bite leads to infection and the typical symptoms of yellow fever, which include fever, vomiting or nausea, headache, muscle pains and a characteristic yellowing of the whites of the eyes (also known as jaundice). 

The diagnosis of yellow fever involves a blood test, as the symptoms of yellow fever are very similar to those caused by other tropical diseases. There is no specific yellow fever treatment, patients usually rely on painkillers and anti-inflammatories to alleviate the symptoms. 

Yellow fever increases the risk of dehydration and can be very dangerous. The virus causes 30 000 deaths worldwide every year and affects 200 000 patients. 50% of yellow fever patients who suffer severe symptoms die of the infection. 

If you are planning to visit a country where yellow fever is endemic, you need to visit a Superdrug yellow fever centre for a vaccination.

Yellow fever is currently known to affect people living in or travelling to 43 countries located on the African continent as well as South America.

 African nations known to have a high occurrence of yellow fever include most central African nations, for example the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. 

Travellers planning a trip to South America should consider a yellow fever vaccine if travelling to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia or Venezuela.

In addition to a timely yellow fever vaccination, you should protect yourself from mosquito bites while you are abroad. 

Using a mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeved-tops as well as long trousers will deter mosquitoes and reduce your risk of catching an infection. You may also wish to take a mosquito coil or plug-in device with you, to use in your accommodation. 

By avoiding swamps and other mosquito breeding grounds, you can minimise your exposure to insect bites. Ideally, you should stay in places with air conditioning or at least insect mesh screening in front of all windows.

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