Home > Health A – Z > Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever

A disease caused by infection with the yellow fever virus, which is carried by mosquitoes. Symptoms include body aches, chills, fever, severe headache, weakness, and a yellow skin color.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Where does yellow fever virus occur?

Yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. Yellow fever virus is a very rare cause of illness in U.S. travelers to these areas.

How soon do people get sick after being bitten by an infected mosquito?

The incubation period (time from infection to illness) is usually 3-6 days.

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

Initial symptoms of yellow fever include sudden onset of fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Most people improve after these initial symptoms. However, roughly 15% of people will have a brief period of hours to a day without symptoms and will then develop a more severe form of yellow fever disease...Read more about Yellow Fever
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Yellow fever vaccine for patients with HIV infection

In the United States of America, current guidelines do not recommend YF vaccine for individuals with HIV infection or AIDS; these recommendations, however, are targeted mostly at travellers to the parts of Latin America and Africa where YF occurs and who have the option of not going. For HIV‐infected patients living in these areas where exposure is inevitable, it is important to weigh the risks of vaccination against the risk of developing YF. There are no known medicines for YF, further highlighting the importance of vaccine. The purpose of this review was to assess the risks and benefits of YF vaccine for people living with HIV. We found three cohort studies that addressed this question. One study in children, from a time before effective widespread use of antiretroviral drugs, found that YF vaccine worked much less well in children with HIV than it did in those without HIV. Two studies in adults found that the immune response to yellow fever vaccine was slightly lower in HIV‐infected patients. No severe adverse events were observed in patients in these studies. However, because the numbers of people with HIV who have received YF vaccine is small, and serious side effects are uncommon in people without HIV infection, we are not positive about its safety. When it does need to be used, it should be given to people whose viral loads are low and CD4 counts are high.

Efficacy and duration of immunity after yellow fever vaccination: systematic review on the need for a booster every 10 years

Abstract. Current regulations stipulate a yellow fever (YF) booster every 10 years. We conducted a systematic review of the protective efficacy and duration of immunity of YF vaccine in residents of disease-endemic areas and in travelers to assess the need for a booster in these two settings and in selected populations (human immunodeficiency virus-infected persons, infants, children, pregnant women, and severely malnourished persons). Thirty-six studies and 22 reports were included. We identified 12 studies of immunogenicity, 8 of duration of immunity, 8 of vaccine response in infants and children, 7 of human-immunodeficiency virus-infected persons, 2 of pregnant women, and 1 of severely malnourished children. Based on currently available data, a single dose of YF vaccine is highly immunogenic and confers sustained life-long protective immunity against YF. Therefore, a booster dose of YF vaccine is not needed. Special considerations for selected populations are detailed.

Safety of Vaccines Used for Routine Immunization in the United States

To conduct a systematic review of the literature on the safety of vaccines recommended for routine immunization of children, adolescents, and adults in the United States as of 2011.

See all (42)

Summaries for consumers

Yellow fever vaccine for patients with HIV infection

In the United States of America, current guidelines do not recommend YF vaccine for individuals with HIV infection or AIDS; these recommendations, however, are targeted mostly at travellers to the parts of Latin America and Africa where YF occurs and who have the option of not going. For HIV‐infected patients living in these areas where exposure is inevitable, it is important to weigh the risks of vaccination against the risk of developing YF. There are no known medicines for YF, further highlighting the importance of vaccine. The purpose of this review was to assess the risks and benefits of YF vaccine for people living with HIV. We found three cohort studies that addressed this question. One study in children, from a time before effective widespread use of antiretroviral drugs, found that YF vaccine worked much less well in children with HIV than it did in those without HIV. Two studies in adults found that the immune response to yellow fever vaccine was slightly lower in HIV‐infected patients. No severe adverse events were observed in patients in these studies. However, because the numbers of people with HIV who have received YF vaccine is small, and serious side effects are uncommon in people without HIV infection, we are not positive about its safety. When it does need to be used, it should be given to people whose viral loads are low and CD4 counts are high.

Sinusitis: Overview

A stuffed-up nose, forehead and jaw pain, and a cough are typical symptoms of an inflammation of the sinuses, also called sinusitis. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic.

Eczema: Overview

Rashes and severe itching are typical symptoms of eczema. This inflammatory skin condition is common in children. Acute symptoms can greatly affect quality of life. It often gets better over time and goes away for a while, or even completely.

See all (16)

More about Yellow Fever

Photo of an adult

Also called: Yellow jack, Yellow plague, Bronze john

Other terms to know:
Disease Vector, Viruses

Keep up with systematic reviews on Yellow Fever:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...