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Yellow Fever

did you know?

Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito bites.

Yellow Fever - What is it?

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus found mostly in the tropical regions of Africa and Central and South America.

The virus occurs naturally in rainforest monkeys and is passed on to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes.

Yellow Fever - Who is at risk?

All travellers to areas where yellow fever is present are potentially at risk of infection. In recent years, there has been an increase in outbreaks in the tropical regions of Africa and Central and South America.

The risk of contracting yellow fever during travel may vary depending on a number of factors, such as:

  • the season of travel (mainly the wet season)
  • the regions visited (how common yellow fever is)
  • the length of stay
  • the amount of time spent outdoors
  • the type of measures taken to avoid mosquito bites

Other people may be at risk of yellow fever infection. Please speak to your doctor regarding your individual circumstances.

Yellow Fever - How is it spread?

Yellow fever is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The virus can be spread from one infected person to another (via mosquitoes) just before the onset of fever and for 3 to 5 days afterwards.

Yellow Fever - What are the symptoms?

Most infected people do not develop any symptoms or may only experience a mild illness.

In people who do develop symptoms, symptoms start suddenly 3 to 6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and may include fever, muscle pain, severe headache, extreme exhaustion, chills, nausea and vomiting.

Most people will get better after these initial symptoms. However, after 24 to 48 hours when the fever and symptoms appear to settle, there can be a second phase of illness with high fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes due to liver inflammation), internal bleeding and in some cases death.

This is not a full list of symptoms that can occur following yellow fever infection. If you feel unwell while travelling or when you return home, make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible.

Yellow Fever – Vaccination and Prevention

Travellers to regions where yellow fever exists are recommended to avoid mosquito bites by:

  • using mosquito repellents, coils and sprays both during the day and night
  • using treated mosquito nets
  • wearing appropriate clothing

Australian health authorities recommend yellow fever vaccination for all healthy travellers (aged 9 months and over) visiting areas where there is a risk of yellow fever.

A booster dose of yellow fever vaccine every 10 years is recommended for anyone with an ongoing risk of yellow fever virus exposure.

Travellers > 1 year of age who arrive into Australia within 6 days of leaving a country where yellow fever occurs, must have a valid certificate of vaccination. Only Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres approved by the relevant State or Territory health authorities can administer the vaccine.

Many other countries also require evidence of yellow fever vaccination prior to entry, it is advisable to check the requirements of the countries you are visiting prior to departure.

Yellow Fever – Treatment

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. Infected people may require hospitalisation, where they will receive care to relieve symptoms and be closely observed.

Other treatment can include medication to relieve fever and pain and will also include rest and fluids.

Precautions should be taken to prevent mosquito bites in yellow fever patients during the first few days of illness in order to reduce the risk of the virus spreading to people around them.

It is important to plan ahead and see your doctor at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel to discuss vaccination and travel health.


Some side effects may be experienced following vaccination. Please discuss any side effects or concerns with a healthcare professional.





AUS/VAC/0018/15. Date of approval: April 2015.