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Yellow fever

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Yellow fever

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This is an article about health issues. While contributors do their best, we cannot take account of your individual health needs. Consult your doctor for individual medical advice.

    This article is a travel topic

About Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a potentially fatal tropical disease caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Illness ranges in severity from an influenza-like syndrome to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever. Yellow fever can be prevented by vaccination. Travellers to areas with yellow fever transmission should take precautions against exposure to mosquitoes.

Countries where yellow fever is endemic - with CDC vaccination recommendation (may be abbreviated) as at mid-2006 in brackets - are:


CDC map of yellow fever-endemic zones in Africa in 2009.
Country Traveller's Age Additional Comments
Angola over 9 mo.
Benin over 9 mo.
Burkina Faso over 9 mo.
Burundi over 9 mo.
Cameroon over 9 mo.
Cape Verde over 9 mo.
Central African Republic over 9 mo.
Chad over 9 mo.
Congo: Democratic Republic of the Congo over 9 mo.
Congo: Republic of the Congo over 9 mo.
Côte d'Ivoire over 9 mo.
Equatorial Guinea over 9 mo.
Ethiopia over 9 mo.
Gabon over 9 mo.
The Gambia over 9 mo.
Ghana over 9 mo.
Guinea over 9 mo.
Guinea-Bissau over 9 mo.
Kenya over 9 mo. cities of Nairobi and Mombasa have lower risk of transmission than rural areas
Liberia over 9 mo.
Mali over 9 mo.
Mauritania over 9 mo.
Niger over 9 mo.
Nigeria over 9 mo.
Rwanda over 9 mo.
Sao Tome and Principe over 9 mo.
Senegal over 9 mo.
Sierra Leone over 9 mo.
Somalia over 9 mo.
Sudan over 9 mo.
Tanzania over 9 mo. city of Dar es Salaam has a lower risk of transmission than rural areas
Togo over 9 mo.
Uganda over 9 mo.

Central America & South America

CDC map of yellow fever-endemic zones in the Americas in 2009.
Country Traveller's Age Additional Comments
Argentina over 9 mo. going to the northern and north-eastern forested areas, including Iguaçu Falls
Bolivia over 9 mo. travelling to areas east of the Andes Mountains
Brazil over 9 mo. going to the endemic zone
Colombia over 9 mo. where itinerary is limited to the cities of Bogotá, Cali, or Medellín, risk is lower and travellers may consider foregoing vaccination
Ecuador over 9 mo. who are travelling to areas east of the Andes Mountains
French Guiana over 9 mo.
Guyana over 9 mo.
Panama over 9 mo. travelling to the provinces of Darien, Kunayala (San Blas) and Panama, excluding the Canal Zone
Paraguay over 9 mo. travelling to the forested areas on the east and west
Peru over 9 mo. travelling to the areas east of the Andes Mountains, except if only travelling to the cities of Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Suriname over 9 mo.
Trinidad and Tobago over 9 mo.
Venezuela over 9 mo. except if only travelling to the northern coastal area


A vaccine is available which provides immunity for at least ten years. Many countries will require that you be vaccinated against yellow fever if you are coming from a country where it is present or have been in such a country within the last 6 days (the incubation period). If this is the case you will need to present a "World Health Organisation International Certificate of Vaccination" with an appropriately dated certification on the "International Certificate of Vaccination or Revaccination Against Yellow Fever" page to immigration officials. This little yellow booklet will be given to you when you are vaccinated against yellow fever for the first time. Carry it with your passport: you'll typically present them to immigration officials at the same time.

It is generally easiest to get a yellow fever vaccination in your home country before you leave on your trip. The vaccination is not in the normal vaccination schedules of many countries outside the infected areas since it is unnecessary unless you are travelling and has a somewhat higher risk of complications than many other vaccines. You will need to especially request a yellow fever vaccination from a designated yellow fever vaccination center. Immunity is considered to start 10 days from the time of the vaccination, so be sure to get vaccinated 10 days before you enter an infected country. The vaccine is live and not entirely inactive: many people have mild flu-like symptoms for a couple of days after receiving this vaccine, so it would be good not to be planning anything strenuous in those days.

Depending on how the vaccine is cultivated, you may need to allow about half an hour for a yellow fever vaccination as you will be observed for an allergic reaction after it is administered.

Vaccination requirements

Some countries have mandatory yellow fever vaccination requirements. The exact requirements vary from country to country and may also vary from time to time. The following is a list of countries which had yellow fever vaccination requirements as at mid-2006. Countries requiring proof of vaccination upon arrival from all other countries (as opposed to only upon arrival from endemic zones) for all travellers more than one year old are shown bold.

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