Street drugs

August 2010

Clinical

Yellow fever

Prevention in travellers

Volume 39, No.8, August 2010 Pages 570-573

Amy A Neilson

Cora A Mayer

Background

Yellow fever is a mosquito borne flaviviral haemorrhagic fever endemic to parts of Africa and South America. One in seven patients develop severe, frequently fatal disease characterised by multi-organ involvement.

Objective/s

This article outlines the clinical features, epidemiology, prevention and vaccine recommendations for yellow fever in order to assist the general practitioner when providing travel medicine advice to patients.

Discussion

Travellers are at risk of yellow fever in endemic areas, especially in forested and rural regions and during urban outbreaks. In addition to antimosquito measures, it is important to prevent yellow fever by vaccinating where there is true risk, or where it is required by international health regulations. However, the vaccine is associated with rare but severe adverse reactions and the need for vaccination should be carefully evaluated.

Yellow fever is a mosquito borne viral haemorrhagic fever caused by yellow fever virus – a single stranded ribonucleic acid virus of the genus flavivirus.1,2 It has an overall case fatality rate of up to 20%1 and an estimated 200 000 cases of yellow fever, causing 30 000 deaths, occur worldwide each year in the endemic areas of Africa and South America.3 The vector, usually Aedes aegypti, is a domesticated mosquito, widespread in tropical areas.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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