Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease caused by infected mosquitoes. This condition typically presents with flu-like symptoms and, in severe cases, yellowing of the skin and eyes. Yellow fever is common in subtropical and tropical regions particularly in Africa, Central America, and South America.

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus from the flavivirus genus. This disease is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes, especially those of the Aedes and Haemogogus species.

Symptoms usually develop 3-6 days after getting bitten by an infected mosquito. For mild cases, common symptoms include: 

  • Fever
  • Headache 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Fatigue 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Loss of appetite

 

Some may develop severe symptoms such as: 

  • High fever
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, eyes, or stomach
  • Vomiting blood
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Dark urine

Yellow fever is difficult to diagnose and may be confused with diseases like dengue and malaria. Blood tests are needed to check for the presence of the virus. Doctors may also ask for the patient’s medical and travel history to give a correct diagnosis.

 

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. For most people, adequate bed rest and hydration is enough to fully recover. Medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may be given to control fever and to relieve aching. Those who experience severe symptoms should be hospitalized for close observation and supportive care.

The most effective way to prevent yellow fever is by getting vaccinated against the virus, especially if one plans to travel to an area where yellow fever is endemic. Other methods that may help prevent infection from the virus include: 

  • Staying indoors during nighttime, when mosquitoes are most active 
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Using mosquito repellent 
  • Staying in rooms that have window and door screens
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net 

 

REFERENCES: 

Symptoms, diagnosis, & treatment. (2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/symptoms/index.html 

Yellow fever. (2020). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yellow-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20353045 

Yellow fever. (2020). NHS choices. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/yellow-fever/ 

Yellow fever. (2019). World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/yellow-fever

Last Updated: February 21, 2024