Yellow fever is a viral illness caused by Ribonucleic acid RNA viruses belonging to the Flavivirus genus.
It is a zoonosis- i.e. an animal disease that can be spread to humans, primarily transmitted by Aedes aeygpti female mosquitoes and by mosquitoes belonging to Haemagogus genus. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundice (Yellowing of the skin and eye).
The Flavivirus causes yellow fever, and it’s transmitted when an infected mosquito bites you. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they bite an infected human or monkey. The disease can be spread from one person to another.
The acute phase lasts 3-4 days and is characterised by:
•Nausea and vomiting.
The toxic phase is characterised by:
•Recurrence of fever.
•Abdominal pain and vomiting.
•Bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes and stomach due to decreased production of clotting factors and/or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).
•Deterioration of renal function, which may lead to acute kidney injury.
•Multiple Organ dysfunction.
Those who haven’t been vaccinated for yellow fever and who live in areas populated by infected mosquitoes are at risk.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 200,000 people become infected each year.
He/she should see a doctor right away if they have been traveling recently and they experience flu-like symptoms for a blood test.
The blood sample will be analyzed for the presence of the virus or for the antibodies meant to fight the virus.
There is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever but specific care to treat dehydration, liver and kidney failure, and fever improves outcomes. Associated bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. (WHO 2018)
•Vaccination (9 months – 59yrs):
This is the most important means of preventing the fever.
Existing and newer y/fever vaccination are valid for life starting 10 days after vaccination.
People who are usually excluded from vaccination include:
- infants aged less than 9 months;
- pregnant women – except during a yellow fever outbreak when the risk of infection is high;
- people with severe allergies to egg protein; and
- people with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have a thymus disorder.
According to the World Health Organization and in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR), countries have the right to require travellers to provide a certificate of yellow fever vaccination. If there are medical grounds for not getting vaccinated, this must be certified by the appropriate authorities. The IHR are a legally binding framework to stop the spread of infectious diseases and other health threats. Requiring the certificate of vaccination called yellow card from travellers is at the discretion of each country, and it is not currently required by all nations.
•Vector (mosquito) control.
•Epidemic preparedness and response.
Currently, there’s an outbreak of the fever in Nigeria- 3 states but with potential of spreading to other regions. It can be prevented by vaccination. Do well to visit a PHC facility near you to get vaccinated.
Health, they say, is wealth