What is Yellow Fever?
Yellow Fever is a serious and life-threatening infection caused by a virus. It is spread by the bite of infected day-biting mosquitoes. It can be prevented by the yellow fever vaccination.
Initial symptoms can appear within 3-6 days and include flu-like symptoms with sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, backache, nausea and vomiting. The more serious form of the disease progresses to jaundice, (yellowing of the skin and eyes), bleeding from nose and intestines and eventually organ failure. Fatality rate for yellow fever is 20-50% of patients who present with jaundice.
Where is it found?
Yellow Fever is widespread in certain parts of Africa and in tropical areas of Central and South America. *see map belowRisk factors for travelers is determined by location of travel, dates and season, duration of stay, and activities while travelling.
Who should get vaccinated?
The vaccine is a live vaccine and is recommended for immunization of people 9 months of age and older. For those travelling to endemic countries or living in areas where yellow fever has been reported or for those travelling outside of urban areas of countries in the yellow fever zone.
The yellow fever vaccine is given in one dose and must be taken at least ten days before you travel to a tropical area (immunity develops after 10 days and lasts for 10 years). The vaccine must be obtained from a designated yellow fever center (Nova Travel Clinic is a designated center).
Yellow fever vaccination is a legal requirement for entry to some countries, either for all travelers or for those coming from other countries where the yellow fever virus is found.At the travel clinic, you will receive a stamped document called the
International Certificate of Vaccination Against Yellow Fever. This document is an official record.
Who should not be vaccinated?
- Children under 9 months of age
- Anyone who is ill with an infection or fever
- Pregnant and nursing women
- Persons over 60 years of age (unless travelling to a very high risk zone)
- Immunosuppressed patients; including those on drug therapy (steroids, chemotherapy or radiation)
- Anyone who has their thymus gland removed
- Patients who have an allergy to eggs or chicken protein or any other component of the vaccine
- pregnant women will only be considered for vaccine by health care provider if travelling to high risk areas.
*No vaccine is 100% effective therefore it is important for travellers to still use caution and insect precautions.
There is a certificate of contraindication for those patients who do meet the criteria for Yellow Fever but who will be travelling to a country where the yellow fever certificate is required.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects are mild and occur in about 5% of patients, symptoms include:
- Mild headache
- Low grade fever
- Muscle aches lasting 1-2 days
*Allergic reaction is a risk with any vaccine