What Causes Yellow Fever? Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Yellow fever is a viral infection that gets transmitted by mosquitoes. It is exceedingly common in areas of South America and Africa, afflicting travelers as well as residents.

Mild cases manifest as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, yellow fever can become more serious, causing liver impairment, kidney problems and heart failure along with bleeding.

Approximately, 50 % of people having a severe infection of yellow fever die.

Causes of Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral infection that is spread by the Aedes mosquito. When an Aedes mosquito bites a monkey or a human being infected with yellow fever, the virus gains entry in to the mosquito’s blood and moves around; it then settles in the salivary glands. When this infected mosquito bites another human or monkey, the virus enters the host’s blood, and triggers the symptoms of yellow fever.

Signs And Symptoms Of Yellow Fever

During the first 3 to 7 days after the incubation period, there will be no apparent signs or symptoms. Thereafter, the acute phase commences, and in some cases, a toxic phase may set in which can be life-threatening.

Acute phase

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Giddiness
  • Red eyes, face or tongue

Toxic phase

The symptoms may vanish for a couple of days following the acute phase; however, some people may enter the toxic phase. Manifestations for the toxic phase include:

  • Jaundice
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Reduced urinary output
  • Slow heart rate
  • Bleeding from your nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Liver and kidney failure.
  • Seizures, delirium and coma.
  • The toxic phase may be fatal.

 Treatment And Prevention Of Yellow Fever

Yellow fever has no treatment. There is no antiviral drug which treats yellow fever. The treatment regimen comprises of supportive care.

  • Primarily, you need to consume loads of fluids, you need to be given oxygen, the B.P. needs to be monitored, replacement of the lost blood and other infections must be treated. Some people receive transfusions of plasma to replace blood proteins that improve clotting.
  • Dialysis is necessary in some cases.
  • An effective vaccine prevents the occurrence of yellow fever. If you plan to travel to Africa or South America, you need to confer with your doctor 10 days before traveling. One of the vaccines for yellow fever provides you with a 10 year protection. The vaccine is safest for 9 months to 60 year olds.
  • Additionally, you need to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Stay away from avoidable outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Shirts with long sleeves and trousers, especially when outside are advisable.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned environment. Make sure you have window screens.
  • In case, you do not have window screens, make use of nets round your bed.
  • Mosquito repellents are effectual too. Apply permethrin containing repellent to your clothes as well as bed netting.
  • Skin products which contain DEET or picaridin will proffer you long-lasting protection from the mosquitoes. Select the concentration of the repellent based upon the duration of time of protection that you require. The chemicals used in the repellent are toxic, thus, apply only the quantity that is required during the time that you are outdoors.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural product and proffers you with identical protection as DEET.