Yellow fever is a dangerous disease caused by a virus that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is found mainly in certain tropical countries in Africa and South America.
The most common symptoms are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.
A small proportion of those infected with the yellow fever virus will develop severe disease. Symptoms of severe disease include: jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, stomach pain with vomiting and problems with liver and kidney function.. There is currently no specific curative treatment, and half of those that develop severe disease will die within 7 – 10 days.
You are advised to use personal protective measures to reduce mosquito bites when visiting areas where yellow fever is present. The mosquito that spreads yellow fever bites mainly during the day so wearing appropriate clothing and using insect repellents will help you avoid mosquito bites.
A yellow fever vaccine called Stamaril® is available to help protect you against yellow fever. In addition, certain countries require you to produce a yellow fever certificate to enter the country. Please refer to the individual country pages for disease information and certificate requirements.
Where a certificate is not required for entry into a country, this does not necessarily mean there is no risk of disease and you may still be advised to consider receiving the yellow fever vaccine. For more information, please see the individual country pages.
Locate your Nearest Yellow Fever Centre
The yellow fever vaccine can only be administered at designated yellow fever centres. To locate your nearest yellow fever centre please follow the links below:
Yellow fever vaccination is carried out for two different purposes:
- To prevent the international spread of the disease by protecting countries from the risk of importing or spreading yellow fever virus:
- If you are entering into a country that has the correct mosquito and monkey population, from a country where there is a monkey population that can be infected with the yellow fever virus, then yellow fever can be introduced in to the receiving country.
- The receiving country requires proof of vaccination to prevent the spread of yellow fever.
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination is most often required when coming from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission (including, sometimes, if you transit by airplane through such countries).
- Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination from all travellers and this will be indicated on individual country pages.
- To protect individual travellers who may be exposed to yellow fever infection.
- As yellow fever may be fatal if you have not been vaccinated, vaccination is recommended for all travellers (with a few exceptions) visiting areas where there is a current or periodic risk of yellow fever transmission.
- An individual risk assessment is indicated before receiving yellow fever vaccine.
Please see the yellow fever vaccine page for further information.
Side effects following yellow fever vaccine are usually mild and can consist of fever, headache, nausea, joint and muscle pain. While serious complications are rare, they have an increased incidence in those:
- over 60 years of age
- who are immunosuppressed
- with a thymus disorder or have had their thymus gland removed (for any reason)
- the thymus gland is sometimes removed during cardiac (heart) surgery
- who have a first degree relative who has had a serious complication to the vaccine
Yellow fever is found only in parts of Central and South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Yellow fever risk areas can be viewed on a map here.
Yellow fever is a viral infection that is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito which mainly bites during daylight hours.
The virus has a short incubation period of 3-6 days.
- The most common symptoms are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.
- Infection with yellow fever results in lifelong natural immunity in individuals who recover.
- A small proportion of those infected with yellow fever will develop severe disease. Symptoms of severe disease include: jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, stomach pain with vomiting and problems with liver and kidney function.
- Half of those that develop severe disease will die within 7 – 10 days.
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever virus. Early diagnosis and supportive hospital treatment improves survival rates.