Yellow fever is a serious disease. You should be immunised against yellow fever before you travel to certain countries. You may need an International Certificate of Vaccination to prove you have been immunised. Check with your practice nurse at least two weeks before you travel to see if you need this immunisation.
Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by a virus. For some people it can cause a flu-like illness which improves completely. However, for other people it causes symptoms of high fever, vomiting, jaundice and bleeding which can be fatal. There is no cure for yellow fever.
Yellow fever is passed to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes which tend to bite during daylight hours. (This is different to the mosquitoes which carry malaria, which tend to bite from dusk to dawn.) Yellow fever occurs in certain countries of tropical Africa and South America. Yellow fever is not transmitted directly from person to person.
You should have an injection of vaccine at least ten days before the date of travel to allow immunity to develop. A single dose of vaccine provides immunity for at least 10 years, maybe even for life. However, a booster dose (and a repeat certificate of immunisation) is recommended every 10 years if you are still at risk.
Yellow fever vaccine can only be given at accredited centres. Many GP practices are accredited. If your local GP practice is not accredited you can find a list of the nearest available centres at www.nathnac.org.
The vaccine stimulates your body to make antibodies against the yellow fever virus. These antibodies protect you from illness should you become infected with this virus. The yellow fever vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Up to 3 in 10 people who are immunised with yellow fever vaccine have mild headache, muscle aches, mild fever or soreness at the injection site. These symptoms can last up to 14 days after the injection. Severe reactions are very rare, but the risk increases in older people.
The yellow fever vaccine is not usually given under the following circumstances, although advice should be taken from your doctor or practice nurse:
See the Health Advice for Travellers leaflet.
All travellers going abroad are advised to get this booklet. You can get a free copy from main post offices.
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