What Is Yellow Fever?:
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease common in sub-Saharan Africa. Illness ranges in severity from an influenza-like syndrome to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever. Although it is quite rare for travelers to get yellow fever most countries have regulations and requirements for yellow fever vaccination that must be met prior to entering the country.
How Can I Get Yellow Fever?:
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease so you can get infected through a mosquito bite. It is most common at the end of the rainy season in West and Central Africa (July - October). Outbreaks were also reported in Uganda in late 2010.
How Can I Avoid It?:
If you are traveling in an area where yellow fever is endemic (see map) you should get the vaccination and also avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Wear long sleeves and long pants, use an insect repellent containing DEET, sleep under a mosquito net at night and try and stay in rooms with air-conditioning or a fan. Burning a mosquito coil at night is also very effective at keeping the mosquitoes away.
Symptoms of Yellow Fever:
In mild cases the symptoms are similar to influenza, but serious cases develop a high fever and may lead to internal bleeding, kidney failure and meningitis. A classic feature of yellow fever is hepatitis, which is the reason for the yellow coloring of the skin (jaundice) and the name of the disease.
Treatment of Yellow Fever:
There is no effective treatment against the yellow fever virus. The initial flue-like symptoms can be treated with acetaminophen. Serious cases will always have to be hospitalized. The mortality rate for yellow fever ranges from 5 to 40 percent. Best get that vaccine if you are able to.