Yellow Fever – Stages, symptoms, treatments & prevention

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What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a deadly virus transmitted by mosquito bites and is more widely found in places like Africa and South America. Yellow fever has the peril of damaging the liver and internal organs. It can also be fatal sometimes if left untreated.

Yellow is also a haemorrhagic condition that leads to high fever, skin bleeding and death of cells in the liver and kidney. This gradual eradication of liver cells results in jaundice problems. Though yellow fever is an incurable disease, it can be easily prevented.  

It is also said that yellow fever is transmitted by a mosquito called Aedes aegypti which is also responsible for spreading diseases like the Zika virus and Chikungunya.

Stages of Yellow fever

Yellow fever is classified into three stages:

Stage 1 – This stage is known as the infection stage. In this stage, a person might experience some symptoms like headache, fever, muscle pain, vomiting and jaundice. Typically, these symptoms usually disappear within 3-4 days.

Stage 2 – This stage is referred to as the remission stage. Fever and other petty symptoms that occur in this stage disappear normally. This stage, if left untreated and leads to stage 3 of the condition.

Stage 3 – This stage is called the intoxication stage. Several vital organs like the heart, liver and kidney are under serious threat in this stage. It may also lead to conditions like seizures, coma and delirium.

Symptoms of Yellow fever

The initial symptoms of Yellow fever are quite similar to that of the influenza virus. Some of the notable symptoms of Yellow fever are:

  • Headaches
  • Joint aches
  • Chills  
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches

On the other note, symptoms of yellow fever are distinguished into two types:

  • Acute Phase
  • Toxic Phase

Acute Phase 

This phase may exist for 3 to 4 days. Some of the other symptoms include:

Toxic Phase

The symptoms that show up in the acute phase usually disappear after a period of 24 hours. However, the vanished symptoms may disappear, and new serious symptoms may emerge after a period of 24 hours. Very few people enter this stage, which is expected to be fatal.  

  • Decreased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Seizures 
  • Delirium
  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes

People may also experience other critical problems like kidney failure, liver failure, Hemorrhage, abdominal pain and jaundice.  

Treatment for Yellow fever

As of now, there is no antiviral treatment to kill yellow fever. Every antiviral medication that was made for yellow fever has miserably failed. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with Yellow fever, make sure to get proper treatment in the hospital.  

Treatments such as providing fluids, and oxygen, making sure blood pressure is normal, refilling lost blood and treating secondary infections.  

Treatments like plasma transfusion are given to people who lost their proteins during the blood clot.

People should avoid treatments like aspirin and Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) because of the bleeding risk.

Unfortunately, if you are diagnosed with yellow fever, make sure to consult a doctor immediately and take the necessary actions to get rid of Yellow fever.

When to see a doctor?

Before travel  

Suppose you plan to go to an outstation where the cases of Yellow fever are huge. You need to take a doctor’s advice before embarking on your journey to new places. It is advisable to have a doctor’s consultation 4-5 weeks before starting off your journey. Your doctor may instruct you to administer yellow fever vaccination in these cases.

After travel

After returning from the place, if you are suspicious about yellow fever infection, immediately consult your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment. This ensures you to give protected against yellow fever. Seek immediate medical care and doctor’s help in case of emergency.

Cause of Yellow fever

Yellow fever passes through the yellow fever virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites. The virus called “Yellow fever virus” is also known to be as “Flavivirus”. Yellow fever cannot be spread from one person to the other person. It is caused due to a mosquito bite called Aedes aegypti.

These types of mosquitoes are found near human habitations, and it is expected that these mosquitoes particularly breed in fresh and clean water.

Most of the time, humans and monkeys are affected by yellow fever. The flavivirus, which is known to be the Yellow fever virus, is expected to be endemic among monkeys that reside in the forest and jungles of Africa and America.

When a mosquito bites the infected monkeys, it acts as a transmitting agent and spreads it to people, thereby causing yellow fever to the person.

Risk of Yellow fever 

People who reside in densely populated areas with mosquitoes and the people who have not been vaccinated are at a huge risk of yellow fever infection. A person who is around the region of the yellow virus-prone area has a higher chance of getting affected by this dreadful virus.

Therefore, before visiting places where the infection of yellow fever is high, vaccination is preferred to those people.

People can administer the yellow fever vaccine before two weeks going to places.

Even if you travel to places where the intensity of infection is less, it does not mean you will not be affected by the virus. Early treatment of yellow fever symptoms may help you to get rid of the virus completely.

Prevention of Yellow fever

You can prevent the occurrence of Yellow fever in following ways:

Vaccine for Yellow fever

Vaccination is the only effective way of preventing yellow fever. Yellow fever vaccination consists of a live, weekend version of the body that helps to create a strong immune system to help you protect against the disease. The vaccination for yellow fever is given in one shot.

Among the vaccines prescribed for yellow fever, a vaccine named Yellow fever 17D is said to claim the effective name vaccination to fight against the flavivirus otherwise known as Yellow fever virus.

However, this vaccination is not recommended for the following set of people:

  • People who have allergies to Eggs, Chicken and Gelatin
  • Children who are under the age of 6-9 months.
  • People who are diagnosed with diseases like AIDS, HIV and other conditions that reduce the immune system of a person.  
  • People who crossed 60 years of age should refrain from vaccination until the confirmation of the doctor.

The vaccine for yellow fever is considered safe. Some of the possible side effects of the vaccination include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever
  • Muscle pain

Skin repellent

Other prevention methods include using insect repellents and wearing thick and full-sleeved clothes to avoid mosquito bites. Stay inside during the peak hours of mosquito bites. Skin repellents are quite similar to insect repellants. Some of the commonly known skin and mosquito repellents include catnip oil, cinnamon oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, etc.

Summing up

Vaccination for yellow fever is a must for those who travel to new places. However, an infected person cannot transmit the virus to the other person. But the mosquitoes that were affected by the yellow fever virus disseminated the virus to numerous people. Being active and taking stipulative measures to control mosquito breeding is the only effective way to eradicate yellow fever.

1. What causes yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a dangerous virus that is spread through the bite of mosquitoes. It is caused by a mosquito breed called Aedes aegypt, which is also responsible for causing the Zika virus and Dengue virus.

2. Does yellow fever still exist today?

Yes, yellow fever still exists today. It is an incurable disease, but early diagnosis and treatment help you to recover fastly from the disease.

3. What are the 4 symptoms of yellow fever?

· Headache
· Back pain
· Nausea  
· Vomiting

4. What happens if you get yellow fever?  

Don’t panic. It is a treatable disease if given proper medication. Protecting yourself from a mosquito bite is an effective way to stay away from yellow fever.

5. What organs do yellow fever affect?

Organs like the liver and kidneys are the primary organs that are mostly affected by yellow fever.

6. Does yellow fever have a vaccine?

Yes, a vaccine is available for yellow fever. It is mostly administered to people who have plans to go outside often. A single shot vaccine safeguards you from the virus for a lifetime.

7. Is Typhoid yellow fever?

Yellow fever is not related to Typhoid fever. Nevertheless, the symptoms of both are the same.

8. How long does yellow fever last?

Yellow fever may stay in the person’s body for 3 to 10 days based on the immunity power of the body.

9. How did doctors of the time treat patients suffering from yellow fever?

Years back, people do not have a vaccination facility. Doctors suggest mosquito and insect repellents as the main source to prevent yellow fever.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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