Yellow Fever Breaks Out in Brazil

Yellow fever can easily be prevented through immunization

Public health officials in Brazil have reported a yellow fever outbreak that has killed at least 40 people.

Although the bulk of the outbreak has occurred in the state of Minas Gerais, there have also been confirmed cases in the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo and Espiritu Santo

Since the Aedes mosquito, the transporter of this viral infection, has a good habitat in Brazil, the majority of that country is always at a higher risk for a yellow fever outbreak.

According to Eduardo Hage, director of the Department for Surveillance of Infectious Diseases, the Brazilian health ministry has ordered 11.5 million doses of the yellow fever vaccine.  About 5.5 million of that total had already been transported to Brazilian states which are either at risk for yellow fever or have had at least one confirmed case of yellow.  

Yellow fever is a possibly fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

It can easily be prevented through immunization provided that the vaccine is administered at least 10 days before travel.

The yellow fever vaccine is given in the USA at approved vaccination centers. After receiving the vaccine, you should receive an International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow card) that has been validated by the vaccination center. This certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination and lasts for ten years. You will need this card as proof of vaccination to enter certain countries.

The total cost for the yellow fever vaccine ranges from $150 to $350.

According to the WHO, there is no specific treatment for yellow fever.

The first symptoms of the disease usually appear 3–6 days after infection. The first, or “acute”, phase is characterized by fever, muscle pain, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea/vomiting.

After 3–4 days, most patients improve and symptoms disappear. However, in a few cases, the disease enters a “toxic” phase.  In this phase, the fever reappears and the patient develops yellowing of the skin and/or eyes as well as bleeding (with blood appearing in the vomit).

About 50% of patients who enter the toxic phase die within 10–14 days.