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Yellow Fever

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What is yellow fever?
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus and spread by the bite of certain mosquitoes. It does not occur in the U.S., but is common in some parts of Africa and South America.

Who gets yellow fever?
Yellow fever occurs in people living or traveling in tropical or subtropical areas.

How is yellow fever spread?
The disease is not spread directly from person to person. It is spread by the bite of an infective Aedes aegypti mosquito. A mosquito that bites a person with yellow fever within the first five days of illness may transmit the disease to other people it bites later.

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?
The symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, headache, backache, nausea, and vomiting. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) also occurs. Some cases progress to more serious forms, which may affect the blood, liver, and kidneys.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?
The symptoms appear from three to six days after the mosquito bite.

Does past infection with yellow fever make a person immune?
Yes, people who have had yellow fever will not get the disease again.

How is it diagnosed?
The disease may be confirmed by a blood test or various other laboratory tests.

What is the treatment for yellow fever?
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, except to relieve the symptoms as much as possible. The disease can be fatal.

How can yellow fever be prevented?
Vaccination and mosquito control are used to prevent yellow fever in countries where the disease occurs. People traveling to these areas should be immunized with the vaccine prior to travel. Proof of this vaccine may be officially required under International Health Regulations for entry into some countries if the traveler is entering from a yellow fever endemic area.

Where can I obtain more information about yellow fever?
Additional information about yellow fever is available at and at the CDC Health Information for International Travel website (

Where can I obtain yellow fever vaccine?
A list of clinics in Virginia where yellow fever vaccine can be obtained is located at /Epidemiology/Immunization/international.htm.

Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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