is a virus that is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.
Risk factors for getting yellow fever include traveling to an area where yellow fever is present.
Symptoms for yellow fever include:
- High fever
- Chills and muscle aches
- Yellowing of the skin, known as jaundice
More serious complications include:
Treatment involves taking care of the infected person while they recover. There is no medication to treat the illness.
Illness from yellow fever varies from a self-limited illness to hemorrhagic fever, which can be very severe and lead to death.
The vaccine is a weakened, live form of the yellow fever virus. The vaccine is created by growing the live virus in a lab. The vaccine is administered by a shot.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine is recommended for those who are traveling to or living in areas where the disease is present. Your doctor will help you decide if the vaccine is right for you. The vaccine may be inappropriate for certain individuals.
Common minor side effects include:
- Soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site
- Muscle aches
Rare, serious side effects include:
- Nervous system reaction
- Severe allergic reaction
- Organ failure
The vaccine should not be given to:
- Infants aged six months or younger—In rare cases when your 6-8 month-old baby must travel to high-risk areas, talk to the doctor about the vaccine.
- People over the age of 60 are at higher risk for serious complications. If you are traveling to an area of yellow fever risk, consult an infectious disease specialist to find out if vaccination is a good choice for you.
- Are severely allergic to eggs, chicken, or gelatin
Have a disease that weakens the immune system, such as
infection—If you are traveling to high-risk areas, talk to your doctor about the vaccine.
Are receiving treatments that weaken the immune system, such as
- Have problems with the thymus or have had their thymus removed
- Are pregnant—Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the vaccine if you are traveling to a high-risk area. If you are vaccinated, your doctor may use a blood test to confirm immunity.
- Are breastfeeding—If you are traveling to high-risk areas, talk to your doctor about the vaccine.
To decrease your chance of getting yellow fever:
- Use insect repellent
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Stay in screened areas
An outbreak of yellow fever in the United States is unlikely since the virus is not geographically present in this country. But, in the event of an outbreak, uninfected people would be vaccinated and precautions would be taken to reduce transmission.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
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Group on Geographic Risk for Yellow Fever.
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Khromava AY, Eidex RB, Weld LH, et al. Yellow Fever Vaccine Safety Working Group. Yellow fever vaccine: an updated
assessment of advanced age as a risk factor for serious adverse events.
Staples JE, Gershman M, Fischer M. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Yellow fever vaccine: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices (ACIP).
MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-7):1-27.
Thomas RE, Lorenzetti DL, Spragins W, Jackson D, Williamson T. Active and
passive surveillance of yellow fever vaccine 17D or 17DD-associated serious adverse events: systematic review.
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Yellow fever vaccine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 20, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2014.
Yellow fever VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/yf.html. Updated June 18, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2014.
2/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Available at:
http://www.who.int/wer/2013/wer8820/en/index.html. Accessed June 19, 2014.
Last reviewed May 2014 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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