Yellow fever

                    8 FACTS ABOUT YELLOW FEVER

  • Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The "yellow" in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.
  • Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
  • A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days.
  • The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America.
  • Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination. In these conditions, infected mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti specie transmit the virus from person to person.
  • • Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease. A booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 10 days for 80-100% of people vaccinated, and within 30 days for more than 99% of people vaccinated.
  • Good supportive treatment in hospitals improves survival rates. There is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever.
    The Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy launched in 2017 is an unprecedented initiative. With more than 50 partners involved, the EYE partnership supports 40 at-risk countries in Africa and the Americas to prevent, detect, and respond to yellow fever suspected cases and outbreaks. The partnership aims at protecting at-risk populations, preventing international spread,and containing outbreaks rapidly. By 2026, it is expected that more than 1billion people will be protected against the disease.

Signs and symptoms

Once contracted, the yellow fever virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days. Many people do not experience symptoms, but when these do occur, the most common are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting. In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days.       

                                       
A small percentage of patients, however, enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of recovering from initial symptoms. High fever returns and several body systems are affected, usually the liver and the kidneys. In this phase people are likely to develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes, hence the name ‘yellow fever’), dark urine and abdominal pain with vomiting. Bleeding can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. Half of the patients who enter the toxic phase die within 7 - 10 days.

Prevention

1. Vaccination is the most important means of preventing yellow fever.

 The yellow fever vaccine is safe, affordable and a single dose provides life-long      protection against yellow fever disease. A booster dose of yellow fever vaccine is not  needed.Several vaccination strategies are used to prevent yellow fever disease and transmission: routine infant immunization; mass vaccination campaigns designed to increase coverage in countries at risk; and vaccination of travellers going to yellow fever endemic areas.

2.  Personal preventive measures such as clothing minimizing skin exposure and repellents are recommended to avoid mosquito bites. The use of insecticide-treated bed nets is limited by the fact that Aedes mosquitos bite during the daytime.

3. Always perform good hand hygiene including regular washing of hands with soap. this is especially important before eating and after using the toilet.Prepare your own food rather than buy cooked food from outside.As much as possible avoid shaking hands and hugging because it is so easily contactable. And do not be offended  if others decline to shake your hand 

4. Avoid large crowds, public transportation and funerals as much as possible especially funerals where the dead died as a result of a brief unexplained illness


Treatment

Good and early supportive treatment in hospitals improves survival rates. 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.

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