Highland Travel Medicine

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever

  is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Illness ranges in severity from an influenza-like illness (high fever, muscle aches, and head ache) to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever often resulting in death. The disease occurs in equatorial regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Travelers risk to these areas is dependent upon several factors including; immunization status, season, duration of exposure, occupational and recreational activities, and status of local outbreaks. Risk of infection is much higher in Africa than South America. Greatest risk in Africa is during and just after the rainy season July-October. Greatest risk in South America is January-March.

Prevention of Yellow Fever is best achieved with vaccination and the avoidance of mosquito bites. Wherever possible stay in climate controlled air-conditioned quarters and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Mosquito netting is very important if sleeping in quarters which are not climate controlled. Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin should be applied on exposed skin and re-applied as directed.

Vaccination with Yellow Fever vaccine is the best means of protection. Yellow Fever Vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine and should not be given to certain people. Children under six months, and persons older than sixty (seek advice from a travel professional) should generally avoid this vaccine.  Immunocompromised persons; leukemia, lymphoma, or generalized malignancy will need professional medical guidance before administration. HIV positive persons with T-cells higher than 200 cells/mm3 can be vaccinated but will require close follow-up and surveillance for adverse reactions. Persons taking high dose corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs will require pre-vaccination evaluation. A history of Thymus disease or Thymus surgery should not be vaccinated. Any person with a history of allergy to egg or egg products should not be vaccinated. If you fall into a group which precludes vaccination, a letter from a travel physician in the form of a waiver should be carried with you for travel.

International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) for Yellow Fever.
International health regulations allow countries to require proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from certain countries where Yellow fever is endemic. Travelers arriving without this certificate may be refused entry, quarantined, or forcibly administered vaccination.