Yellow Fever In Africa

Yellow Fever in Africa occurs in a belt across the central zone of the continent. Fortunately it is one of the few arbovirus infections that has an available vaccine.


Yellow Fever Map
Dark area denotes Yellow Fever countries

Yellow Fever Facts

  • Yellow Fever caused by a virus, which is spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. It is found in tropical areas of Africa.
  • Yellow Fever in Africa is recognised in two different forms - urban and jungle. 'Urban Yellow Fever' occurs when an infected person enters a densely populated area and is spread from person to person by any type of mosquito. 'Jungle Yellow Fever' is essentially a disease of monkeys living in tropical rainforests is spread to humans by rainforest mosquitoes.
  • The Yellow Fever vaccine prevents the disease.

Yellow Fever Symptoms

  • Yellow Fever symptoms may be mild at first and go unrecognized - headaches, fevers, abdominal pain.
  • After a short while though, things may get get serious with shock, bleeding, kidney and liver failure. The liver failure is associated with jaundice - hence the name Yellow Fever.

Yellow Fever Shot Reactions

  • As with any vaccination there maybe mild reaction symptoms to yellow fever shots like soreness at the injection site, fever and aches.
  • Rarely there are severe allergic responses which need prompt medical attention.
  • Elderly people are considered to have a slightly increased risk of serious side effects from the Yellow Fever vaccination. It is important they take their physician's advice on this.

Yellow Fever Vaccination Exemption

  • If your physician confirms there is a medical contraindication to yellow fever vaccination, a medical waiver can be issued.inistering the vaccine. In this case, the provider should fill out and sign the Medical Contraindications to Vaccination section of the ICVP (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis). Also, it is the provider's responsibility to counsel the traveller about the risks of travelling without vaccination to a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission and about personal protective methods against mosquito bites. Travellers in this situation should be advised that the safest alternative is to avoid or postpone travel.
  • Additionally the physician who grants a medical waiver should provide a signed and dated exemption letter on letterhead stationery, clearly stating that the vaccine is contraindicated on medical grounds. This letter should also display the centre's official yellow fever vaccination stamp. Medical exemption letters should be written for the current trip only.

Summary For African Travellers and Hunters

  • Any hunter or traveller going to areas where Yellow Fever is endemic is at risk.
  • Hunters should obtain the necessary yellow fever vaccination when travelling to endemic areas of the world.
  • Yellow Fever vaccine may only be obtained at approved vaccination centres.
  • NEW As of 11 July 2016 Yellow Fever vaccination does NOT require a booster after 10 years.
  • Confusion still exists as to which countries require a compulsory Yellow Fever certificate. A Yellow Fever Certificate is the ONLY internationally regulated certificate. The WHO recommends it for all travellers to endemic areas, as well as for those coming from an endemic area to an area of potential transmission. The purpose of the certificate is not only to protect the traveller but to also protect those in areas of the world where infection is possible.
  • It is essential to plan ahead if you know you need the yellow fever shot, due to occasional shortages of the vaccine.
  • Take the usual precautions against mosquito bites - cover exposed skin and use effective insect repellents.

NEW As of 11 July 2016 the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is valid for the life of the person vaccinated. This lifetime validity applies automatically to all existing and new certificates, beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination. Accordingly, as of 11 July 2016, revaccination or a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine will not be required for international travellers as a condition of entry into a State Party, regardless of the date that their international certificate of vaccination was initially issued. Read more from the WHO

2015 - South Africa will no longer require travellers entering the country from Zambia or Tanzania, (also Eritrea, Somalia. São Tomé and Principe) to produce proof of vaccination against yellow fever. Read full SA Government Yellow Fever Policy

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