Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans via the bite of infected mosquitoes - much like malaria. Unlike malaria, which is often talked and written about, a lot of travellers aren't sure if they require a vaccination against Yellow Fever or what they need a certificate for. The last thing you want is to get halfway across Africa only to find that the next country on your trip won't let you in - all because of a little piece of paper.
Yellow Fever Facts - Although an effective vaccine has been available for 60 years, the number of people infected over the last two decades has increased and yellow fever is now a serious public health issue again.
- Thirty-three countries, with a combined population of 508 million, are at risk in Africa.
- Yellow Fever is a virus belonging to the 'flavivirus group' and humans and monkeys are the principal animals to be infected.
- The virus is carried by a biting mosquito which can also pass the virus via infected eggs to its offspring.
- Yellow fever is difficult to recognize, especially during the early stages however blood tests can detect yellow fever antibodies that are produced in response to the infection.
- There is no cure for yellow fever. Treatment is symptomatic, aimed at reducing the symptoms for the comfort of the patient.
- Vaccination is the single most important preventive measure against yellow fever. The vaccine is safe, affordable and highly effective, and provides effective immunity within one week for 95% of persons vaccinated. (Ref: World Health Organisation 2009)
Do I Need a Yellow Fever Vaccination and Certificate to travel in Africa? Yes... depending on where you want to go. If you are travelling to a Yellow Fever endemic area (see map) then it is strongly recommended that you are vaccinated against Yellow Fever. If you are travelling from a Yellow Fever endemic area (anywhere in the world) then you WILL be required to produce your official, stamped vaccination certificate on arrival in many parts of Africa where Yellow Fever is not prevalent.
Check out the full Yellow Fever story at Overlanding Africa.com or post your comments below.
Additional information you may find useful: Travel Documents for Africa Latest Yellow Fever Vaccination Recommendations Africa Budget Safaris – Essential Travel Checklist You Ought To Know Before You Go!