Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. Infection can lead to two distinct phases of disease.
The first phase results in:
• muscle pain
• nausea and vomiting.
Patients often recover after 3 to 4 days. Some patients will enter a more serious, toxic phase where the fever returns, jaundice occurs and blood appears in the vomit. The toxic phase may be fatal if not treated appropriately.
Vaccination is the most effective form of prevention against yellow fever, and is recommended for people aged 9 months and older who travel to areas where there is a risk of infection. A single dose provides lifelong immunity. It is very important to speak to your travel GP at least 6 weeks before travelling overseas to see if you need a yellow fever vaccine. Once infected, there is no specific treatment for the disease. Most countries have regulations and requirements regarding the need for yellow fever vaccination. If you have visited areas where the disease is endemic, a Yellow Fever International Certificate of Vaccination may be required in order to enter other countries and to re-enter Australia.
Yellow fever occurs predominantly in regions of South and Central America and West and Central Africa.