Yellow fever

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

March 27th, 2020

Editorial Board

Yellow fever (YF) is a viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The ‘yellow’ in the name refers to the fact that many patients suffer jaundice, a condition which gives skin a yellow pallor.

Yellow fever high-risk areas are tropical regions of Africa and Latin America. Infection causes a wide spectrum of disease, from mild
symptoms to severe illness and death in up to 50% of patients. No treatment beyond supportive care exists.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 200,000 cases of yellow fever per year, leading to 30,000 deaths, worldwide each year. The number of cases has increased over the past two decades for a variety of reasons, including deforestation, urbanization, population movements and climate change.

Is yellow fever preventable?

Vaccination is recommended by the WHO as a preventive measure for travelers to, and people living in, areas where the disease is common. The vaccine provides immunity within one week for 95% of people who are vaccinated. The organisation says the current vaccine appears to provide protection for 30-35 years or more.

The WHO strongly recommends routine yellow fever vaccination for children in areas at risk for the disease.