Yellow fever disease, causes and management

admin October 29, 2019

Yellow fever disease, causes and management

Yellow Fever

What is Yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a viral disease, usually of short duration that results to liver failure and death.


People and location affected

Prevalent in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Forty seven (47) countries in total, Africa (34) and Central and South America (13).

In Nigeria over 500 cases per year.

It is advised that anyone planning a trip to the above-mentioned locations should take all recommended and necessary precautions and at the very least receive a yellow fever vaccine.

The “yellow” in the name is as a result of the jaundice that it causes in some patients.

Causes of yellow fever

How is yellow fever transmitted?

Spread by the bites of mosquitoes (Aedes and Haemogogus species) and primates (monkeys).

Monkeys are primary reservoir of this disease, when bitten by wild mosquitoes (Aedes and Haemogogus species), and in turn monkeys pass the virus to human when they attack them.


What happens to a person who is infected with the virus?

Symptoms include fever, bloodshot eyes, furry tongue, coma, nausea, vomiting, constipation, irregular heartbeat, headache, muscle pains, kidney and liver inflammation, jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding, delirium, convulsion and bleeding disorders. Although most people, between 15 and 50 percent of patients with severe form of this disease die from it.


What are the curative measures?

No specific treatments for yellow fever but you can treat underlying conditions like;

  • Kidney failure by using dialysis
  • Bleeding using blood components


If not treated can lead to liver failure, internal bleeding or death.


Worse cases if not properly managed?

It may result to organ failure (kidney and liver), infection, shock, Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), coma and even death.


How can we prevent it?


The yellow fever has a vaccine which is safe, affordable and a single dose provides life-long protection against this dreaded disease.

Note: Once you receive this vaccine, you will be given a certificate from your travel doctor stating you’ve received the medicine. This certificate is needed to enter countries still plagued by this scourge. This certificate will be valid ten days after the actual shot and will remain valid for ten full years, making future travel to such places a little less complicated.

People excluded from vaccination include:

  • infant less than 9 months of age
  • pregnant women – unless during the outbreak of yellow fever, when the risk of infection is high
  • people reacting to egg protein
  • people whose immune system is down or deficient due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have disorder of the thymus.

Others include

If you will be traveling to a country where yellow fever is common:

  • Sleeping in screened houses
  • Use of mosquito repellents
  • Elimation of potential breeding sites of mosquitoes

When to Contact a Medical Professional

When do I seek for help?

If you are traveling to yellow fever endemic areas, see a your at least 10 to 14 days before traveling to know if you should be vaccinated against the disease.

If you or your child develops symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or jaundice, especially if you have traveled to an area where it is endemic.

For more info

Visit Center for disease control and prevention on  website

You can also visit the World Health Organization’s website