Are you safe from yellow fever? What you need to know

Are you safe from yellow fever? What you need to know

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.

Yellow fever has no known cure but treatment is available to reduce the symptoms and discomfort for patients.

Which countries are most affected by yellow fever?

Yellow fever is prevalent in west and central African countries but cases have been reported in some east African countries.

Before the recent cases of the disease, Kenya’s last outbreak was in 1992.

The virus is also endemic in tropical areas of Latin America.


African countries where Yellow Fever is prevalent
African countries where Yellow Fever is prevalent

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

Symptoms of yellow fever may take three to six days to appear. Some infections can be mild but most lead to serious illness characterised by two stages. In the first stage fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, headache and weakness occur.

About 15 to 25 per cent of those with yellow fever progress to the second stage also known as the ‘toxic’ stage, of which half die within 10 to 14 days after onset of illness. Visible bleeding, jaundice, kidney and liver failure can occur during the second stage.

How can I protect myself from infection?

The yellow fever vaccine is very effective and accessible in all government institutions.

According to the World Health Organisation, a once in a lifetime vaccination at 9 months is enough to protect one for the rest of their life.

However, to travel abroad, one requires a vaccination certificate available upon immunisation at the City Hall and at Aga Khan University Hospital in Parklands, Nairobi. The vaccine can also be administered at Ministry of Immigration offices across the country.

Despite an amendment to the WHO guidelines on yellow fever (2005), most countries are yet to remove the ten-year expiry date for vaccination certificates. The certificate is thus valid from ten days after the vaccination to ten years.

Another way to protect yourself from yellow fever is by using mosquito nets and/or mosquito repellent.

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