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