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- Yellow fever facts
- What is yellow fever? What is the history of yellow fever?
- What causes yellow fever?
- How is yellow fever transmitted?
- What areas are high risk for contracting yellow fever?
- What is the incubation period for yellow fever?
- Is yellow fever contagious? How long is the contagious period for yellow fever?
- What are yellow fever symptoms and signs?
- How is yellow fever diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for yellow fever?
- How long does yellow fever last?
- What is the prognosis for people with yellow fever?
- Is it possible to prevent yellow fever?
- What are the side effects of the yellow fever vaccine?
- Where can people get more information on yellow fever?
Quick GuideTravel Health: Vaccines & Preventing Diseases Abroad
How long does yellow fever last?
For individuals with yellow fever who develop the acute mild course of the illness, the symptoms will generally last about three to four days, and most patients will recover fully. For those individuals who develop the more serious toxic phase of the disease and survive, the course of the illness may last for several weeks depending on the severity of illness and any associated complications.
What is the prognosis for people with yellow fever?
The prognosis for individuals who develop uncomplicated yellow fever is generally excellent. However, for those patients who go on to develop the toxic phase of yellow fever, case-fatality rates range from 20%-50%. If death occurs, it is typically within 10-14 days after the onset of the toxic phase. Infants and those older than 50 years of age tend to have more severe disease and higher mortality rates. Furthermore, host susceptibility and the virulence of the particular infecting strain can also influence mortality rates. In those individuals who survive yellow fever, generally there is no residual permanent organ damage.
Is it possible to prevent yellow fever?
Vaccination remains the most effective way of preventing yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine has been used for several decades, and it is a safe vaccine with only rare serious adverse events reported. It is a live virus vaccine that provides immunity for 10 years (and longer) after a single dose. It provides immunity against yellow fever in 95% of individuals within one week of its administration. A booster dose is recommended every 10 years for those individuals at risk for continued yellow fever exposure. The vaccine is available for adults and children older than 9 months of age. It is recommended for travelers to areas where yellow fever is endemic and to local populations who are at risk. Several countries require travelers to demonstrate proof of yellow fever vaccination status for entry in order to prevent the importation and transmission of yellow fever. Check with a local health department for information regarding designated yellow fever vaccination centers.
Effective mosquito-control measures are also an important component for preventing or minimizing the risk of yellow fever. Avoiding mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants) and remaining in properly screened or air-conditioned accommodations is recommended. Furthermore, applying insect repellant containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin is advised.