Yellow Fever: Common Symptoms And Treatment

Beverly Hills Magazine Yellow Fever: Common Symptoms And Treatment
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Most travelers coming into and residents of Africa and South America are in the population of those who are highly susceptible to yellow fever. This is because these aforementioned areas are high-risk areas where the mosquito that transmits yellow fever breeds.

What is Yellow fever?

It is an acute viral hemorrhagic infection that is transmitted by a species of mosquito known as the Aedes aegyptyi. This mosquito is also known to transmit dengue fever and Zika virus. This viral infection is often characterized by high fever and the yellowing of the eye and skin as a result of jaundice hence the name ‘Yellow Fever.’ Mild cases of yellow fever are usually characterized by headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting. reveals that about 50% of more severe cases die of the infection.

Common Symptoms

Yellow fever could catch you unawares as it develops rapidly and can cause death within the space of 7 to 10 days of infection if the supportive treatment to increase the patient’s chance of survival is not started. There are two phases, and a patient may present varying symptoms at the different stages of the infection. These phases include;

  • The Acute Phase and,
  • The Toxic Phase

At the early stage of the infection, which is within the first few days after the incubation period of 3-6 days, the symptom a patient presents is usually similar to that of an influenza virus. The early-stage symptoms include;

  • Fever
  • Joint aches
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Muscle Aches
Beverly Hills Magazine Common symptoms of yellow fever
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The Acute Phase

This phase lasts for about 3-4 days, and the symptoms associate with it are:

  • Flushing
  • Shivers
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Backaches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint aches

Most people recover after the acute phase is over, but some others don’t. A good number of patients who leave the acute phase goes into a severe form of the disease.

The Toxic Phase

This phase is the most severe form as it comes with both symptoms associated with acute yellow fever and more life-threatening symptoms. They include:

  • Decreased passage of urine
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Brain dysfunction which may result in delirium and coma
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Seizures
  • Hemorrhage from Nose, Mouth, and Eyes
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Jaundice (Yellowing of skin and the white part of the eyes).

A lot of patients who go into this face never survive it as it is often fatal. However, about 15% of patients who leave the acute phase proceed to the toxic phase of yellow fever.


Yellow fever cannot be cured but can be prevented with the help of the yellow fever vaccine. The yellow fever vaccine is highly effective, and a single shot can protect you for a period of 10 years. Hence, getting a single dose of the yellow fever vaccine is advised for residents of high-risk areas like Africa and some parts of South America. Also, if you are traveling to any of the aforementioned areas, you must get vaccinated for your own safety and that of everyone around you.

The only treatment that can be proffered involves managing the symptoms and boosting the immune system to help your body fight off opportunistic infections. Here are different ways to manage the symptoms:

  • Kidney dialysis for patients experiencing kidney failure
  • Maintaining a healthy diet that incorporates immune-boosting foods
  • Getting enough oxygen
  • Ensuring proper treatment for other infections that attack the body
  • Staying hydrated and taking fluids via your veins
  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • Getting blood transfusions

You can also go-ahead to get a BDNF Elisa test done to check the progress of your infection and know if your treatment regimen is effective.

Other things you can do to prevent a yellow fever infection

Since the vector for yellow fever is a mosquito, you can prevent getting infected by protecting yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some things you can do to reduce exposure to mosquito bites:

  • Use insecticide-treated nets.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room.
  • Put on long-sleeved wears and trousers to properly cover your legs and hands in heavily mosquito-infested areas.

Peace Adebola
Peace is a freelance content writer who enjoys reading, acquiring knowledge and she loves to code.
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