Yellow Fever Immunization Information

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Rite Aid is committed to helping keep you well, both close to home and when you’re far away. Yellow fever is a virus commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It’s a rare form of illness in U.S. travelers. Even so, illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe liver disease with bleeding. Yellow fever is diagnosed based on symptoms, laboratory testing, physical findings, and travel history, including the possibility of exposure to infected mosquitoes.

How does Yellow Fever spread?

The yellow fever virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Infected primates are the hosts of the virus. The mosquitoes bite the infected primates and then bite others (human and non-human), thus spreading the disease. Humans become contagious shortly before the onset of fever and for 3–5 days after initial onset.

What are the symptoms of Yellow Fever?

When a person becomes infected, it typically takes 3–6 days for symptoms to appear.
Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe headache
  • Back pain
  • General body aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

How is Yellow Fever prevented?

If a person over the age of nine months is traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus like South America and Africa, they should get the yellow fever vaccine.

Take steps to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin.
  • Wear proper clothing to reduce mosquito bites. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Spray your clothes with repellant as well.
  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The peak biting times for many mosquito species is dusk to dawn.
  • Stay indoors. Stay in screened or air-conditioned rooms, particularly during peak biting times, to reduce risk of mosquito bites.

What are the treatments for Yellow Fever?

There is no specific treatment for patients with yellow fever. Patients who become infected should be hospitalized for supportive care and observation. Rest, fluids, and use of pain relievers and medication to reduce fever may help relieve these symptoms. Using certain medications, such as aspirin or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs may increase the risk of bleeding. Yellow fever patients should stay indoors and away from mosquitoes during the first few days of illness. This way, other mosquitoes cannot be infected and spread the virus. The majority of people who become infected will have mild symptoms with complete recovery. Once people recover from yellow fever, they are usually immune to repeat infections.