Yellow fever is a potentially deadly illness that affects the liver and other organs. It is caused by a virus (Flaviviridae family) and is carried by mosquitoes. These mosquitoes bite infected humans or non-human primates (monkeys, for example) and then transmit the virus to other humans. It is called “Yellow Fever” because of the jaundice (yellow skin and eye color) that develops when your liver is severely damaged.
Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when the virus is present in a community with a high numbers of mosquitoes and low rates of human vaccination.
Dr. Julian Klapowitz of Travel Medicine Consultations can help provide the yellow fever vaccine New York residents are seeking as part of their travel plans.
What are the symptoms of Yellow Fever?
Some of the common symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, feverishness, dizziness, and chills. This is also referred to as the “period of infection”. These symptoms usually improve after a few to several days.
A “period of remission” follows, where most symptoms resolve. This can last up to 48 hours. Most people then recover completely.
15% of people finish the “period of remission” and then enter the severe yellow fever stage.
Severe and life-threatening signs and symptoms at this stage include:
- Jaundice (yellow-colored skin and eyes due to liver failure)
- Abdominal pain
- Recurrent fever
- Vomiting of blood (hematemesis) or bloody diarrhea
- Kidney failure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Seizures and coma
- Bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and nose
Up to 50% of people who enter this stage die!
Places where Yellow Fever is common:
Yellow fever is found in sub-Saharan Africa and South America. It occurs more frequently in Africa than South America.
Yellow Fever Vaccines and Prevention:
Mosquito avoidance is important. There are currently two vaccines in the United States:
- YF-Vax, which was recently unavailable due to a manufacturing issue, but will soon be in use again (likely some time in 2020) and
- Stamaril, which is currently available at a small number of clinics in the US. When YF-Vax return to regular production, Stamaril will likely be phased-out.
Ten days after immunization, you are considered immune to yellow fever. Some countries require you to receive the vaccine ten or more days before you enter. This is to prevent you from bringing the disease into the country from an at-risk location and prevent you from becoming infected once you arrive. Yellow fever vaccine is therefore sometimes medically recommended (to prevent you from becoming ill) and sometimes required (for entrance into a specific country).
For a yellow fever vaccine in New York, contact Travel Medicine Consultations, where you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Julian Klapowitz to discuss your vaccine needs for travel health. Please make sure to check yellow fever vaccination availability when you contact us.
For further information, please visit CDC/Yellow Fever.