About Yellow Fever

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is a zoonotic disease caused by an arbo–virus. It shares its clinical features with other viral hemorrhagic fevers (e.g. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Lassa fever etc). Severe cases develop jaundice with hemorrhagic manifestations (Black vomit, Epistaxis, Melena) and albuminuria or anuria, shock, agitation, stupor and coma. In general, death occurs between the fifth and tenth day of illness.

How is Yellow Fever transmitted?

It affects principally, monkeys and other vertebrates in tropical America and Africa, and is transmitted to man by certain culicine mosquitoes. Currently, yellow fever transmission occurs almost exclusively in areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Why should I take the Yellow Fever vaccination?

The case fatality rate may reach 80% in severe cases. Persons aged 9 months and above who are travelling to or living in areas of South America and Africa where yellow fever infection is officially reported should be vaccinated. It is a requirement under the International Health Regulation (WHO) for persons travelling to endemic areas/countries.

Points to Note:

Laboratory diagnostic tests are not perfect and are not 100% accurate

  • We do not have a test for every disease or virus but most of those pathogens that are of public health importance or have long term implications on your health can be tested
  • No one single test can be used with absolute certainty to diagnose a disease. Often, we depend on a combination of tests to make a diagnosis
  • Sometimes, we have to resort to trial treatment or empiric treatment if investigative tests are inconclusive. If the patient makes a therapeutic response and feels better, we have achieved our goal
  • In PUO, we are looking for treatable causes and to rule out sinister causes eg. malignancies so that we do not miss opportunities for early treatment or intervention

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