The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes; the disease cannot be spread person to person. It is typically found in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical parts of South America. Although anyone can get the virus, the elderly are at higher risk for a severe case.

Symptoms
Yellow fever usually follows a three-stage course. About 3 to 6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, the individual develops symptoms such as headache, fever, joint aches, vomiting, and jaundice. After 3 to 4 days, the person may go into remission, which is actually the second stage of the disease. Many people recover at this stage. But within 24 hours, others may move into stage 3, intoxication. During this stage, people may experience multi-organ failure, bleeding, and delirium. Severe infections with fever and internal bleeding result in death in about half of all cases.

Treatment
Although there is no treatment for the virus, many of the symptoms can be addressed. Individuals experiencing kidney failure can receive dialysis; transfusions can be given to those with bleeding problems; and intravenous fluids can be administered to avoid dehydration.

Prevention
A vaccine for yellow fever is available, and it offers the best protection against the virus. The vaccine, a live, weakened strain of the virus, is given as a single shot. For people who remain susceptible, the shot should be given every 10 years. Other precautions that can be taken include sleeping in screened areas to avoid contact with mosquitoes, using mosquito repellants, and wearing clothing that fully covers the body.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002341/
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-yf.pdf

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: Washing your hands with soaps that have residue-producing antibacterial products, such as those containing the chemical triclosan, have been proven to confer health benefits.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Washing with regular soap is considered the most important way to prevent disease transmission. Routine consumer use of residue-producing antibacterial products has no added benefit and may actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.

  • Correct!

    Washing with regular soap is considered the most important way to prevent disease transmission. Routine consumer use of residue-producing antibacterial products has no added benefit and may actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Infectious Disease Defined

White Blood Cell

A special type of cell that works as part of the immune system to defend the body against disease and infection.

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