Yellow Fever


This is a viral infection. It is common in South America, and in sub-Saharan Africa. The virus that causes it is carried and spread by mosquitoes.


How do you get yellow fever? It doesn't spread directly from person to person. You only get it from an infected mosquito. When it bites you, the virus gets into your blood. Once you're infected, other mosquitoes that feed on your blood may become infected with the virus and spread it to others.


Yellow fever has three stages. Stage 1 lasts for three to four days. During this time, you may have headaches, muscle and joint aches and fever. You may have loss of appetite, and vomiting. Your skin may become flushed or yellowish. In stage 2, these symptoms go away for 24 hours. Some people recover at this point. But others may then enter stage 3. During stage 3, the virus harms your organs. It can affect your heart, liver and kidneys. You may bleed uncontrollably. It may affect your thinking. You may have seizures, and you may slip into a coma.


Treatment for yellow fever may include fluids and supplemental oxygen. You may need transfusions of blood or plasma. If you have kidney failure, you'll need dialysis.


If you live in or plan to visit a place where you may get yellow fever, take steps to prevent it. Your doctor can give you medicine to help you avoid an infection. Also, avoid mosquito bites. Ask your doctor for more information about yellow fever prevention.