Yellow fever is one of the diseases which, when contracted, causes mild illness in most of its victims. Some of the symptoms include high fever, yellowish patches of skin, swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes and acute fever. The virus that causes yellow fever is passed to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The mosquitoes that spread the infection are usually active and bite during daylight hours, and are found in both urban and rural areas. In the early stages, it is clear that there is no serious threat, and in many cases, yellow fever does not occur. At the later stages, however, it can lead to death, and there are two main ways of catching it.
In the first instance, the virus is transmitted from person to person through contact with the bodily fluids of a carrier. It is through these bodily fluids that the virus can survive and reproduce. As the infection progresses, the number of viruses that are present increases, so that there is an increased risk of the infection from occurring in the first place.
For example, if one individual has a wound or a scraped lip, they can transfer the infection to another person through the wound or the affected tissue. Infected tissues can also spread through the air between people who are in close contact.
The skin on the face, for example, is often exposed and can become contaminated by touching the lips, the eye sockets or the nose. One person’s face can then be infectious to another and spreading the infection in this way can cause serious complications.
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Yellow Fever Cause
Although these ways of transmission are relatively common. They are not considered to be widespread since yellow fever is not common in the medical field. There are also many countries where yellow fever is almost non-existent, and this lack of exposure is thought to play a part in the low incidence of yellow fever.
Viruses can also be passed on through direct contact with the infected animal, particularly the vector’s bite. This can happen when the mosquito bites an infected animal and then flies away.
In addition, climate, disease, and environmental changes can also increase the risk of an outbreak. A sudden temperature change can increase the risk of an outbreak, or the weather can also affect mosquito populations so that it becomes harder for them to catch infected animals to bite.
Diseases that affect humans can transmit themselves between humans. This is why the virus that causes yellow fever can also infect horses and other animals. Veterinary staff are also able to transfer the virus by touching the infected animal, by handling the animals in quarantine, and from animals that are brought into the lab.
Since so many diseases have a viral basis, some kinds of animals have a higher risk of transmission than others. Even those who have no symptoms may still transmit the virus, which can result in post-viral syndrome. This is the result of the virus surviving in the body after being contracted and can make the patient very ill in the weeks following the initial infection.
Although yellow fever is not widespread, it is easily spread through close contact with infected animals. Because of the risk of transmission, the yellow fever vaccine is currently available in countries where yellow fever is endemic.
Yellow Fever Symptoms
Yellow fever symptoms normally occur in stages, The initial stage of the symptoms normally develop 3 to 6 days after an individual is affected, and this can lead to the following
- a high temperature (fever)
- a headache
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle pain, including backache
- loss of appetite
This particular stage usually passes after 3 to 4 days and most people will make a full recovery. But, around 15% of people go on to develop more serious problems, including jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), kidney failure and bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach (causing blood in their vomit and stools). And up to 1/2 of people who experience the symptoms will die.
Yellow Fever Treatments
When is the best time to seek medical advice?
You need to see a doctor as soon as possible if you develop any symptoms of yellow fever and if you are currently travelling in an area where the Yello fever virus is found, or have recently returned from one of these areas. To help determine whether you have yellow fever, your doctor will want to know exactly where you have been travelling and what symptoms you have.
A blood test will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Actually, there is no specific treatment for yellow fever, but you will be monitored and the symptoms can be treated. You will be admitted to the hospital for assessment and supportive care.
Yellow fever vaccination should be given to you at least 10 days before travelling to an area where the infection is found, to allow your body system to develop protection against the virus that causes the Yellow fever infection.
Some countries will request proof of Yellow fever vaccination certificate before they will let you enter the country. This will only become valid 10 days after you are vaccinated. The vaccination is given as a single injection and it offers protection to over 95% of those who have it.
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