Facts On Yellow Fever: What Are Its Symptoms And How To Prevent

Yellow fever was considered as one of the greatest plagues of mankind for more than 200 years. Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by bites of specific species of infected mosquitoes. The disease is most common in West Africa and South America. The disease is at its peak at the end of rainy season.

In its mild form, the disease can be similar to other viral diseases with symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting etc. But in its serious form, yellow fever can become a fatal condition. The mortality rate is very high.

Yellow fever can occur in jungles and urban areas of Africa.

There is no particular treatment for yellow fever, it is mostly symptomatic. But an effective solution is to take yellow fever vaccine before visiting the area prone to yellow fever disease.

Symptoms Of Yellow Fever

The first symptom of yellow fever may appear 3 to 6 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. It is also called ‘incubation period’. This stage is asymptomatic; it means there are no symptoms. The second stage is abrupt in onset and patient may experience several symptoms such as fever, headache, severe backache, knee pain, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, redness of eyes and weakness.

After few days of suffering, there is transient recovery in the patient. It is also called ‘period of remission’. Few patients may become worse within 24 hours and slip into the third stage and it is called ‘period of intoxication’.

The symptoms may include irregular heartbeats, jaundice, low urine outflow, albuminuria, blood vomits, delirium, stupor and shock. Patient may have kidney and liver failure. The toxic stage in most cases is fatal.

How To Prevent Yellow Fever

Considering its high mortality and morbidity rate, prevention of yellow fever in the first place has become a priority in medical science. Following are the ways a person can prevent the disease.

Vaccine: The vaccine was developed way back in 1930 and it is effective and safe. Every person who travels to the area where the disease is prevalent should be vaccinated. This will give him the immunity against the disease. It should be taken 10 to 15 days before traveling to the areas. The immunity is probably life long, but for travel certification re-vaccination is recommended every 10 years. The side effects are minimal and they include headache, low grade fever, muscle pain, etc. Protection from mosquitoes is also important.

  • Avoid mosquito bites by wearing full sleeved shirts and full length pants, especially when you travel to mosquito prone areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes by sleeping under mosquito nets. Switch on air conditioners and fans.
  • Apply mosquito repellent creams and ointments available in medical stores.
  • Cover the windows with mosquito nets to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.