Learn About Yellow Fever

What is the definition of Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes.

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What are the alternative names for Yellow Fever?

Tropical hemorrhagic fever caused by yellow fever virus

What are the causes of Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes. You can develop this disease if you are bitten by a mosquito infected with this virus.

This disease is common in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anyone can get yellow fever, but older people have a higher risk of severe infection.

If a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms usually develop 3 to 6 days later.

What are the symptoms of Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever has 3 stages:

  • Stage 1 (infection): Headache, muscle and joint aches, fever, flushing, loss of appetite, vomiting, and jaundice are common. Symptoms often go away briefly after about 3 to 4 days.
  • Stage 2 (remission): Fever and other symptoms go away. Most people will recover at this stage, but others may get worse within 24 hours.
  • Stage 3 (intoxication): Problems with many organs may occur, including the heart, liver, and kidney. Bleeding disorders, seizures, coma, and delirium may also occur.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever, headache, muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting, possibly vomiting blood
  • Red eyes, face, tongue
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Decreased urination
  • Delirium
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Bleeding (may progress to hemorrhage)
  • Seizures
  • Coma
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What are the current treatments for Yellow Fever?

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Treatment is supportive and focuses on:

  • Blood products for severe bleeding
  • Dialysis for kidney failure
  • Fluids through a vein (intravenous fluids)
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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever can cause severe problems, including internal bleeding. Death is possible.

What are the possible complications of Yellow Fever?

Complications that may result include:

  • Coma
  • Death
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Salivary gland infection (parotitis)
  • Secondary bacterial infections
  • Shock
When should I contact a medical professional for Yellow Fever?

See a provider at least 10 to 14 days before traveling to an area where yellow fever is common to find out whether you should be vaccinated against the disease.

Tell your provider right away if you or your child develops fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or jaundice, especially if you have traveled to an area where yellow fever is common.

How do I prevent Yellow Fever?

There is an effective vaccine against yellow fever. Ask your provider at least 10 to 14 days before traveling if you should be vaccinated against yellow fever. Some countries require proof of vaccination to gain entry.

If you will be traveling to an area where yellow fever is common:

  • Sleep in screened housing
  • Use mosquito repellents
  • Wear clothing that fully covers your body
What are the latest Yellow Fever Clinical Trials?
Turnover of Antigen Specific Lymphocytes After Immunization With the 17D Yellow Fever Vaccine

Summary: The yellow fever vaccine is a live, attenuated virus that results in a robust immune response, especially in the T cell compartment. We have been studying immune responses to live viral infections using the yellow fever vaccine as a model for a live viral infection. In this study, we are interested in looking at the processing and lifespan of yellow fever specific CD8 T cells. We plan to accomplis...

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Controlled Study of Immunogenicity and Safety of the Investigational vYF Candidate Vaccine in Comparison to YF-VAX in Adults

Summary: The primary objective of the study is to demonstrate the non-inferiority of the antibody response in terms of seroconversion rate 28 days after vaccine administration of one dose of yellow fever vaccine (vYF) compared to the antibody response after one dose of the YF-VAX control vaccine in yellow fever naïve participants. The secondary objectives of the study are: To describe the immune response t...

What are the Latest Advances for Yellow Fever?
Randomized controlled trial of favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, and standard care in patients with mild/moderate COVID-19 disease.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 23, 2021
Published By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Yellow fever. www.cdc.gov/yellowfever. Updated January 15, 2019. Accessed February 15, 2022.

Endy TP. Viral hemorrhagic fevers. In: Ryan ET, Hill DR, Solomon T, Aronson NE, Endy TP, eds. Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 37.

Thomas SJ, Endy TP, Rothman AL, Barrett AD. Flaviviruses (dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile encephalitis, Usutu encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, Kyasanur Forest disease, Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever, Zika). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 153.