Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease found throughout some tropical countries like sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America and is spread by mosquitoes.  Some countries require people to be vaccinated against yellow fever before they can enter the country, and in some cases even if you are in transit through that country.1,4  The yellow fever vaccination certificate becomes valid 10 days after the vaccination has been given.1

You mainly catch it by being bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito2 which bites during daylight hours.  In high-risk countries travellers have a higher chance of catching yellow fever in all rural and urban areas. 1,2

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all healthy travellers (aged 9 months and over) visiting South America and Africa.1,2   When travelling you must have official documentation with you to show if you’ve been vaccinated.  If a traveller has recently visited a high-risk country and is returning to New Zealand, a vaccination certificate may be needed.4  In New Zealand only yellow fever vaccination centres approved by the Ministry of Health can administer the yellow fever vaccine.5

Yellow Fever FAQs

  • Yellow fever - What is it?

    Yellow fever is a viral disease found throughout some tropical countries like sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America and is spread by mosquitoes.  Some countries require people to be vaccinated against yellow fever before they can enter the country, and in some cases even if you are in transit through that country.1,4  The yellow fever vaccination certificate becomes valid 10 days after the vaccination has been given.1

  • Yellow fever - How is it spread?

    You mainly catch it by being bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito2 which bites during daylight hours.  In high-risk countries travellers have a higher chance of catching yellow fever in all rural and urban areas.  In built-up areas mosquitoes pass on the virus from human-to-human and out-breaks of yellow fever in densely populated areas can lead to widespread epidemics.1,2

  • Yellow fever - What are the symptoms?

    Most infected people don’t get any symptoms; but in the minority who do, the disease can develop in 2 phases. In the 1st phase the symptoms start suddenly, around 3 -6 days after getting bitten by an infected mosquito.  In this phase people can get a fever, muscle pain, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting. Some of these people then progress to the 2nd phase, which can result in high fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes due to liver infection) and internal bleeding, and in some cases it leads to death.1,2

  • Yellow fever - How is it prevented?

    Travellers going to countries where yellow fever occurs should take care to avoid mosquito bites particularly in the higher risk times during the day and early evening.1  You should wear long-sleeved, long-legged, loose-fitting clothing (light colour is preferred to dark); dark colours retain the body warmth and body gases that insects are attracted to.  Mosquitoes tend to bite ankles and wrists – clothing that helps prevent this, by reducing the area of exposure, is recommended.3  Insect repellants containing DEET or Icaradin are particularly useful to stop mosquitoes from biting.3  Insect repellants should be applied as recommended by the manufacturer.

    Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all healthy travellers (aged 9 months and over) visiting South America and Africa.1,2   When travelling you must have official documentation with you to show if you’ve been vaccinated.  If a traveller has recently visited a high-risk country and is returning to New Zealand, a vaccination certificate may be needed.4  In New Zealand only yellow fever vaccination centres approved by the Ministry of Health can administer the yellow fever vaccine.5

    Each time you plan to travel, show your doctor your travel itinerary at least 6–8 weeks before you leave,6  to check if you need to take any precautionary measures against yellow fever.

     

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