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Yellow fever

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Mosquito bite
  • Mosquitoes that spread yellow fever bite during the day

Symptoms

  • Most people who are infected with yellow fever do not get sick or have only a mild illness.
  • Starts with sudden fever, headache and backache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and tiredness.
  • The sick person may get better for a short time but can get worse and develop jaundice (yellow skin or eyes).
  • Sick persons may also bleed from the gums, nose or eyes, vomit blood, or have blood in their stools.

Prevention

  • Routine vaccination
  • Prevention of mosquito bites by putting insect screens on windows and doors and personal protection (application of repellents, long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and cover water containers
  • Elimination of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying
  • larvicides
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication

Vulnerable people

  • Every person in the community who is not vaccinated can get yellow fever
  • Young children and older people are more likely to become very sick or have complications

If an epidemic occurs

  • Support mass vaccination campaigns
  • Increase community-based surveillance
  • Rapidly detect and refer suspected cases to health facilities
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Promote community clean-up campaigns to remove rubbish and cover water containers
  • Encourage prevention of mosquito bites by placing insect screens on windows and doors and wearing personal protection (apply repellents, wear long sleeved clothes, etc.)
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water, fogging, and applying larvicides
  • Encourage young children and people who sleep during the day to sleep under a mosquito net (if windows and doors are not screened)

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick with yellow fever?
  • How many people have fallen sick with yellow fever? Where?
  • How many people have died? Where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area? How many children under five years of age live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • Are children under five most affected? Or are other age groups, occupations, etc., more affected?
  • Are children and adults in the affected community vaccinated against yellow fever?
  • Is a vaccination campaign planned?
  • Do strong cultural beliefs or perceptions about vaccination prevent children from being vaccinated?
  • Do people usually cover their water containers (inside and outside)?
  • How many houses have insect screens on the windows and doors?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs regarding use of repellents, sprays, etc.?
  • What are the usual ways of disposing of rubbish and solid waste in the community?
  • Have the authorities established a vector control programme?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Which sources of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about the disease spreading in the community?