Yellow fever is a serious viral infection that’s spread by certain types of mosquito. The virus that causes yellow fever is passed to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that spread the infection are usually active and bite during daylight hours, from dusk until dawn, and are found in both urban and rural areas.

The symptoms of yellow fever occur in two stages. The initial symptoms develop three to six days after infection, and can include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • back pains
  • loss of appetite

This stage will usually pass after three to four days and most people will make a full recovery.

However, around 15% of people go on to develop more serious problems, including, kidney failure and bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. Up to half of those who experience these symptoms will die.


  • History and Physical Examination
    • History of travel to a country known to have a large number of Yellow fever cases
    • The doctor will ask you what symptoms you have
  • Laboratory Tests
    • Blood tests



  • There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, but the symptoms can be treated while your body fights off the virus.
  • Headache, fever and muscle pain can be treated using painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. You should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • If your symptoms are particularly severe, you may be admitted to hospital so that your condition can be monitored and you can receive supportive care.
  • Yellow fever vaccination
    • given at least 10 days before travelling to an area where the infection is found, to allow your body to develop protection against the virus that causes the infection.
    • The yellow fever vaccination is given as a single injection and it offers protection to over 95% of those who have it.

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