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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Yellow Fever 

Introduction

Yellow fever is found only in parts of Central and South America and Sub-Saharan Africa (see Yellow Fever Risk Areas).

Yellow fever is a viral infection that is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito which mainly bites during daylight hours.

The Illness

The incubation period is usually short, 3-6 days. Symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, backache, generalised muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and jaundice. Infection with yellow fever results in lifelong natural immunity in individuals who recover. Up to 60% of those infected with yellow fever will die from the disease.

Treatment 

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever virus.

Vaccination

Yellow fever vaccination is carried out for two different purposes:

  • To prevent the international spread of the disease by protecting countries from the risk of importing or spreading yellow fever virus. These are mandatory requirements established by the country. The countries that require proof of vaccination are those where the disease may or may not occur and where the mosquito and potential non-human primate hosts of yellow fever are present. Any importation of the virus by an infected traveller could result in its propagation and establishment, leading to a permanent risk of infection for the human population. Proof of vaccination is often required for travellers coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission (including, sometimes, for travellers transiting through such countries).
  • Some countries require proof of vaccination from all travellers (see List of Countries with Mandatory Yellow Fever Certificate Requirement).
  • To protect individual travellers who may be exposed to yellow fever infection. As yellow fever is frequently fatal for those who have not been vaccinated, vaccination is recommended for all travellers (with a few exceptions) visiting areas where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission. An individual risk assessment is indicated for all travellers.

    (Reproduced with permission from the World Health Organisation)

Recommendations for Travellers

Travellers are advised to use personal protective measures when entering areas where yellow fever is present. This includes using insect repellents and wearing appropriate clothing.

A vaccine called Stamaril is available for travellers to protect against yellow fever. In addition, certain countries have yellow fever certificate requirements. Please refer to individual country records for information and certificate requirements.

Locate your Nearst Yellow Fever Centre

Yellow fever vaccination can only be administered at designated yellow fever centres. To locate your nearest yellow fever centre please follow the links below:

Yellow Fever Centres Scotland

Yellow Fever Centres UK

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