Yellow Fever Vaccination what Travelers need to Know

William Fullmer DVM By William Fullmer DVM, 23rd Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1asq8a2r/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Travel Health

As part of my son’s preparation to leave for Brazil he needed the Yellow Fever vaccination, which he received at our Physician’s office. After leaving we received an email from him that he hadn’t received the proper documentation for the vaccination and wouldn’t be able to go to Brazil without it. Since this was our first experience with yellow fever immunizations we weren’t aware of that requirement which then necessitated some scrambling around and express mailing the certificate to him.

Yellow Fever Basics

As part of my son’s preparation to leave for Brazil he needed the Yellow Fever vaccination, which he received at our Physician’s office. After leaving we received an email from him that he hadn’t received the proper documentation for the vaccination and wouldn’t be able to go to Brazil without it. Since this was our first experience with yellow fever immunizations we weren’t aware of that requirement which then necessitated some scrambling around and express mailing the certificate to him.

Yellow fever has had a significant impact on our history. In 1793, 10% of Philadelphia’s population died due to yellow fever infection. At this time Philadelphia was the nation’s capitol, the outbreak was such a concern that President George Washington left the city. The French, who initially started building the Panama Canal abandoned the project and transferred the rights to the United Sates, in part due to worker fatalities from yellow fever. The last outbreak in North America was in 19053.

Yellow fever is a virus which is spread by mosquitoes and cannot be spread by human to human contact1. The virus causes high fever, hepatitis and bleeding2. Because yellow fever is a virus there is no specific treatment other than supportive care. Most infections resolve in three to four days, but 15% of cases “enter a second phase of the illness after a remission. This second phase includes a return of high fever, as well as jaundice; abdominal pain and vomiting; bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes, or stomach; and deteriorating kidney function. As many as half of the patients who experience the second phase may die3.” There are three main types of the disease.

The first is called sylvatic or jungle fever. It occurs when the virus is spread by wild mosquitoes from monkeys to humans. The second is intermediate yellow fever, this is where semi domestic mosquitoes are present in an area with both humans and monkeys transmit the virus between both species.

The last is urban yellow fever “when the Aedes aegypti species of domestic mosquito transmits the virus between humans, without transmission via other primates3.”
Due to international travel, yellow fever cases are diagnosed all over the world, but is found primarily in South America and Africa. Some countries require yellow fever vaccination before travelling to their country, the CDC has a list of yellow fever vaccine requirements by country4.

Not all clinics administer the yellow fever vaccine, so checking with the clinic prior setting up and appointment will save you some time. The vaccine is administered as a single dose and is effective ten days after administration and is effective for ten years. In addition to vaccination, measures to prevent mosquito bites such as mosquito repellents and mosquito nets should be used.
For countries requiring yellow fever vaccination you will need to get an international vaccine certificate which must be stamped at the physician’s office. This is where we had the problem with our physician’s office. We had brought in a vaccine card which they filled out and signed, but for yellow fever you must have the international vaccine certificate properly singed and stamped.

1. CDC Vaccine Information Statement

2. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/yellowfever/index.htm

3. historyofvaccines.org/content/timelines/yellow-fever

4. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/yellow-fever-vaccine-requirements-and-recommendations.aspx

Tags

Immunization, Mosquitoes, Passport, Physician, Travel Tips, Virus Infection, Yellow Fever

Meet the author

author avatar William Fullmer DVM
Dr. Fullmer graduated from Washington State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. He also graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in Veterinary Sciences and f

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Comments

author avatar Tony Barnes
24th Sep 2011 (#)

Good article William. We had to get them every 10 years when I was in the military.

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