The Facts About Yellow Fever

Get the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Yellow Fever Virus

Travelling can be a pleasurable experience, but, unfortunately, illness can happen and using the most vigilant precautions is critical. The Yellow Fever (YF) virus is endemic and intermittently epidemic in certain parts of the world. For this reason, the yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain countries. 

Need to know more about the Yellow Fever virus and vaccination requirements? Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about Yellow Fever. 

What Is Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease that is transmitted through the bite of a contaminated mosquito. Symptoms can include fever, chills, severe headache, nausea, and in severe cases jaundice, bleeding or even organ failure.

If travelling in a yellow fever endemic area, it is necessary to avoid mosquito bites by covering up, using an effective insect repellent and minimising outdoor activities at peak times (dusk and dawn).

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Am I at Risk of Contracting Yellow Fever?

A traveller’s risk of contracting Yellow Fever is determined by several factors including: levels of exposure to mosquito bites and whether protection measures are employed, the traveller’s immunisation status, the destination, the activities completed while travelling, the local rate of transmission, the season of travel and the duration of exposure. 

Travellers are at greater risk of contracting YF if they: 

  • visit rural or jungle areas;
  • stay in endemic areas for longer periods of time; and
  • participate in outdoor activities.

How Is Yellow Fever Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for yellow fever; infected people are hospitalised for treatment of their symptoms and remain under close observation until symptoms resolve or disease becomes fatal.

Why Should I Get the Yellow Fever Vaccine?

For travellers, the risk of contracting yellow fever infection is highest when travelling to areas experiencing an outbreak, however travel to any endemic area is also presenting risks.

Moreover, proof of vaccination may be required or even mandatory under the International Health Regulations if you are travelling to or from countries with a known or potential risk for yellow fever transmission. Other nations may also require proof of vaccination in order for travellers to cross their borders.

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Who Should Get the Yellow Fever Vaccine?

A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is recommended for anyone aged 9 months and over, who is travelling to an area with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission. 

An International Certificate of Vaccination should be issued after administration of the vaccine; although it only becomes valid 10 days after the vaccine is administered. 

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, more than 80% of persons immunised with YF vaccine develop neutralising antibodies 10 days after vaccination and more than 99% by 28 days after vaccination. Immunity persists for more than 10 years, however, there may be some situations when a booster could be advisable.

Which Countries Require the Yellow Fever Vaccine?

There are currently 47 countries in Africa and Central/South America where yellow fever has been declared a risk.

The most popular countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America where yellow fever vaccination is required or recommended are Argentina, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania and more.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada,

Yellow fever outbreaks are presently occurring in several countries within West and Central Africa*, including:

  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria

Kenya has also recently been added to the list of countries with a risk of a potential YF outbreak. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises people who have never been vaccinated against yellow fever to avoid travel to countries experiencing outbreaks.

Where Can I Get a Yellow Fever Injection?

Safe and Effective Yellow Fever Vaccine Available in the West-Island

SanoMed Travel Clinic is a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre approved by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

SanoMed will address all of your travel health needs and offer comprehensive consultations with the latest health information and required vaccines or booster shots for travel worldwide.

Our team will evaluate your immunizations and overall health to assess your needs before you travel. Our knowledgeable doctors and specialised nurses are ready to help you prepare for your travels by offering personalised recommendations and answer all your questions regarding your risks of contracting Yellow Fever. 

Contact our travel clinic for all your need-to-know travel information such as entry and exit requirements, Yellow Fever health alerts and disease outbreaks as well as additional travel insights.

*Regions with risk of Yellow Fever outbreaks are subject to change. Travellers should refer to current information available from the World Health Organization.

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