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Yellow Fever Vaccination

What is a yellow fever vaccine?

It is a vaccine that contains live yellow fever virus that has been weakened. It is administered as a single injection.

What causes yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. These day-biting mosquitoes breed around houses, in forests or jungles, or in both habitats. 

Why is it called yellow fever?

It is a virus that attacks the liver and gets its name from the fact that it can cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow, a condition called jaundice. 

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

It takes 3 to 6 days after infection before symptoms start to appear. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and dehydration. Most people infected with the yellow fever virus will either not get sick or have mild symptoms and recover after 3-4 days

However, about 15% of patients experience a second and more serious phase within 24 hours of recovering from initial symptoms. They go on to develop jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), bleeding that can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes, or stomach, shock (the body is not getting enough blood flow), liver and kidney, or other organ failure. Half of these people will die within 10-14 days. 

What are the yellow fever vaccine side effects?

Side effects of yellow fever vaccine are generally mild and include low-grade fever, headache, and muscle aches that start days after vaccination and last for 5-10 days. Soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site are also common after yellow fever vaccine.

Rarely, serious reactions may occur following the yellow fever vaccine, such as nervous system reactions (encephalitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, among others), and multi-organ failure. Age younger then 6 months and older than 60 and weakened immune system increase the risk of serious reactions to yellow fever vaccine

Do I really need yellow fever vaccination?

Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for healthy people 9 months of age and older who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus activity, or traveling to a country with an entry requirement for vaccination. Age 60 years and older is a precaution to receiving yellow fever vaccine. Yellow fever vaccine is generally not recommended for immunocompromised people, pregnant or lactation persons and those with a history of thymus disease.

Are Canadians vaccinated for yellow fever?

For most individuals, a single dose offers lifelong protection.

Which countries is the yellow fever vaccine mandatory in?

How long before travel you have to get vaccinated with a yellow fever vaccine?

At least 10 days. If you require the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis for your, it becomes valid 10 days after the vaccination. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 10 days for more than 80% of people vaccinated, and by 28 days for more than 99% of people vaccinated.

How long does a yellow fever vaccine last?

For most individuals, a single dose offers lifelong protection.

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