Yellow Fever

Yellow fever describes the symptoms people get when they are affected by the Yellow Fever i.e their eyes become yellow (jaundiced) and they develop a high fever. The disease is caused by a virus which is transmitted to people after they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The disease causes jaundice because of liver damage, bleeding, fever and can eventually become fatal. Current fatality rates are around 8-10%. The Yellow Fever vaccination is highly effective at stopping the disease from developing. It is effective from around 10 days following vaccination. It is however a live vaccine which is restricted therefore to people whose immune system is reduced for example those who have recently had chemotherapy, those on immune modulating medications and those with HIV whose CD4 count is below 200. As humans can also transfer the disease when they travel from affected countries to non- affected countries, an international certificate for yellow fever vaccination is required for travel to several countries.   The Yellow Fever certificate comes into effect ten days after vaccination and now lasts the lifetime. People who have previously been vaccinated can be vaccinated again if they lose or misplace their certificate. s.

In Whom is Yellow Fever Vaccine Contra-indicated?

People who should not have the yellow fever vaccination include:

  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the yellow fever vaccine

  • People who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (including eggs)

  • People who have a condition that affects the thymus gland (part of your immune system that is located in your upper chest)

  • People who are currently very unwell (such as with a high fever) – this is to avoid confusing the diagnosis of your current illness with any side effects from the vaccine

  • People whose immune systems are lowered (immunosuppressed) – such as people with symptomatic HIV and those receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy

  • Children under nine months of age – babies who are six to nine months old should only be vaccinated if the risk of getting yellow fever during travel is unavoidable

  • Pregnant women – unless the risk of yellow fever is unavoidable

  • Breastfeeding women – unless the risk of yellow fever is unavoidable

  • People who are allergic to eggs – the vaccine contains small amounts of egg protein

Exemption letters

In cases where having a yellow fever vaccination is not advised, your doctor may be able to issue you with an exemption letter.

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