Yellow fever (YF) is a serious illness caused by the YF virus. YF is usually passed on to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. YF can vary from a flu-like illness that gets better on its own over several days to a severe illness with fever, jaundice (turning yellow), bleeding and organ failure.
There is no specific medicine to treat YF. Most people with the disease will need to be admitted to hospital and treated for their symptoms, some in intensive care. Many people who get YF will die from the disease.
WHERE DOES YELLOW FEVER OCCUR?
YF occurs in some tropical parts of South America and sub Saharan Africa. Although most cases occur in the countryside, YF can also occur in cities. It is estimated that there are around 200,000 cases of YF in risk areas each year, although it is likely that many more cases occur but do not get reported. Most cases occur in Africa.
HOW CAN I PREVENT YELLOW FEVER?
There are TWO ways to prevent YF:
Prevent mosquito bites.
Get the YELLOW FEVER vaccine.
Travellers to YF areas should do both things.
PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES
Mosquitoes that transmit YF tend to bite during the daytime, particularly in the hours after dawn and before dusk. If visiting a YF risk area, you are advised to prevent mosquito bites day and night.
Ways of preventing bites are:
Cover-up as much as possible with loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
Apply insect repellents, ideally containing 30-50% DEET, to exposed areas of skin.
Apply an insecticide such as permethrin to clothing, which will kill mosquitoes on contact. Permethrin should not be used directly on the skin.
If you are having the YF vaccine for the first time, you should have it at least 10 days before you travel. For most travellers, the vaccine is expected to provide life-long protection. Rarely, travellers are advised to have a further dose; one of the pharmacists at our Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre (YFVC) can tell you if this applies to you.
YELLOW FEVER VACCINE (STAMARIL)
The vaccine that protects against YF has been used for more than 70 years. It works very well and lasts for a long period of time. Most people do not have any problems with the vaccine. Vaccination can only be given in approved YFVC.
If you are having YF vaccine for the first time, it must be given 10 days or more before your trip to be effective and to be officially accepted by the country to which you are travelling. Travellers who are leaving in less than 10 days should discuss with their YFVC whether to get YF vaccine.
At the time you are given your YF vaccine, you will also be given an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP); you should carry your ICVP with you during travel.
It is an official record of your vaccination and may be requested by immigration officials. As of 11 July 2016, the ICVP is valid for the life of the person vaccinated [existing ICVP written on any date before 11 July 2016, will be accepted as valid for life, and should not be altered in any way].
WHO SHOULD GET YELLOW FEVER VACCINE?
In general, there are TWO situations where travellers should be vaccinated against YF:
Travel to countries that require vaccination as a condition for entry.
Travel to countries where there is a risk of getting YF.
Cadham World Travel Clinic is a YFVC and we will be able to advise you whether or not YF vaccination is appropriate for your trip. You should still get advice from a YFVC even if you have received information about YF vaccine from your travel agent.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET YELLOW FEVER VACCINE?
Anyone with a severe allergy to eggs, or to a previous dose of YF vaccine.
Children younger than 9 months old. Rarely, children 6 to 8 months old may be vaccinated.
People whose immune system is affected because of a disease or treatment for a disease.
People with a disorder of their thymus gland.
You should discuss with your YFVC any concerns about your health and if you should get the vaccine. You should still seek advice if any of the above applies and you must travel to a YF risk area.
WHAT IF I CANNOT GET A YELLOW FEVER VACCINE?
Travellers who cannot have the vaccine should consider if they need to travel to a YF risk destination. Where proof of vaccination is required by the country to be visited, but you are not able to have the vaccine because of medical reasons, a Medical Letter of Exemption from vaccination may be written by one of the pharmacists in our YFVC. This may be taken into account by immigration authorities. As the risk of YF remains, travellers should take care to avoid mosquito bites.
Please complete our online travel risk assessment consultation BEFORE booking an appointment.
Once complete you will be presented will a CONSULTATION CODE which you can bring to your appointment