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Yellow Fever is a serious and often deadly illness, transmitted by mosquitoes in the tropical regions of Africa and South America. After getting bitten by an infected mosquito the virus that causes Yellow Fever is transmitted to the human vector. There is usually an incubation period of around 3-6 days. The initial symptoms of Yellow Fever range from maylgia (aches and pains). Along with, fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. In many patients there seems to be an improvement after the initial symptoms. However, usually about 24 hours later 15-25% of patients will progress to a more serious illness. In the form of an acute haemorrhagic fever. This can result in bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears and stomach with jaundice and kidney damage. Most of these patients will go into shock. However it can progress to organ failure and death in around 20-50% of these patients.
Why the vaccination is so important
Unfortunately there is no specific treatment other than supportive measures, once you have caught the infection. This is why the Yellow Fever vaccination is so important. Education and bite avoidance strategies, nets and so forth are also important. Vaccination is performed in at risk individuals travelling to countries where Yellow Fever is present. Not only for their own protection but also to protect against the spread of the disease. This is why some countries will require a certificate of vaccination, despite there being no risk of Yellow Fever in the country. The rules about whether you need the vaccination is very complex. I would urge you to speak with your doctor before you travel. Ensure that you know whether you require a certificate to travel to the countries you are planning too. If you are not vaccinated and there is a certificate requirement then you can be refused entry.
Do not to leave vaccination too late
It is also important to note that the vaccine takes 10 days to offer protection. This means that the certificate will only be valid from ten days after you have received the vaccination. Do not to leave vaccination too late. Once you have been vaccinated the certificate is valid for ten years.
The vaccine is a live vaccine so should not be given within one month of receiving another live vaccine such as chickenpox or MMR for instance. You can have other vaccines that are inactivated at the same time. As it is a live vaccine, you need to discuss any potential problems with your doctor and care needs to be taken. This includes the elderly, pregnant women and persons with immune problems.
Yellow fever vaccination can only be done by a doctor trained to do them and a centre that is a designated Yellow Fever centre,such as mine.
I have over 14 years experience providing sexual health screening, travel health and advice on men’s health and I offer a completely confidential, professional, non judgemental service from start to end. If you are not sure if you have been at risk, then I offer a normal consultation to discuss the possible risks and whether screening would be appropriate. We discuss and agree all costs beforehand so you know exactly where you stand and I will always provide you with clear and accurate advice based on current British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH )guidelines.
Dr Wayne Cottrell is your Private GP and Sexual health doctor in Canary Wharf. Let us help you today!