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Everything you should know about Yellow Fever

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Everything you should know about Yellow Fever

Internal Medicine | Posted on 06/22/2023 by Dr. Sushil Kalra

Yellow fever is one of the public health concerns in different parts of the world. Hence, it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options. It is mainly important for people residing in or traveling to high-risk areas. There are primary factors that must be taken into account such as vaccination, mosquito control measures, and immediate medical attention to prevent and manage yellow fever cases. 

We can play our parts by contributing to the continuing efforts for eliminating yellow fever and protecting public health across the world by raising awareness and supporting global initiatives. 

You will find comprehensive information on yellow fever, so make sure to read it till the end. Before moving on to the discussion, it is recommended that if you experience or suspect that you might be suffering from yellow fever, make sure to consult the best internal medicine doctor in Jaipur at CK Birla Hospital. You will find the most experienced and professional healthcare services here.

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a viral illness caused by the yellow fever virus that is transmitted to humans through infected mosquito bites which is known as Aedes aegypti species. The disease is named yellow fever because of its attributes such as eye and skin yellowing which can occur in people who are infected with this disease. Yellow fever is primarily found in subtropical and tropical regions. The virus is transmissible from person to person through infected mosquito bites, however, is not directly contagious between humans.

What are yellow fever symptoms?

Yellow fever symptoms can differ in terms of severity and not all infected people will experience symptoms. However, when symptoms appear, they often develop in two phases which are acute and toxic yellow phase.

The symptoms of the acute yellow fever phase are: 

  • Sudden high fever, often above 101°F (38.3°C)
  • Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdominal region
  • Constant and severe headache
  • Muscle aches and pain in the joints, back, and behind the eyes
  • Generalized weakness, fatigue, and exhaustion
  • Nausea and Vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Facial flushing, particularly in the cheeks
  • Redness and inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis)

The symptoms of the toxic yellow phase are: 

  • Skin and eyes yellowing due to liver involvement which is known as jaundice
  • Internal bleeding, bleeding from the mouth, nose, and eyes, also blood in vomit and stool.
  • Liver and kidney damage, heart problems, and other organ failure.
  • Mental confusion, irritability, and seizures.

What are the causes of yellow fever?

Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus (YFV) that belongs to the Flavivirus genus. The virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, most commonly from Aedes aegypti species.

The yellow fever transmission cycle involves mosquitoes and non-human primates, like monkeys. The virus is maintained in a sylvatic (jungle) cycle where mosquitoes feed on infected primates. Because of this reason, mosquitoes become carriers of the virus. Humans are easily infected primarily when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes.

How is yellow fever diagnosed?

Yellow fever diagnosis is initiated by a healthcare professional and often they involve using a combination of medical assessment, lab tests, and considering the travel history of a patient. The diagnostic process for yellow fever involves:

  • Clinical evaluation- At first, the doctor will ensure assessing the symptoms of an individual and his/her medical history. The symptoms of yellow fever can appear like other illnesses, hence it is important to consider the probability of yellow fever depending on its attributes. 
  • Travel history- In the next step, the doctor will ask questions from the patient about their travel history and mainly focuses on the regions where yellow fever is prevalent. The information retrieved is useful in determining the probability of virus exposure. 
  • Lab tests: There are various lab tests that can be used for confirming the yellow fever diagnosis. These tests include serologic tests and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The serologic test is useful in detecting the yellow fever antibodies present in the blood whereas RT-PCR is helpful in identifying the genetic material of yellow fever in the blood samples. 
  • Blood tests: The doctor will also involve blood tests as they are the most reliable method to confirm yellow fever diagnosis. It is primarily included because the symptoms might resemble other conditions like malaria fever, dengue fever , etc. Hence, with blood tests, it becomes easier for a healthcare professional to confirm a yellow fever diagnosis.

What is the process of yellow fever treatment?

There is no cure available for yellow fever treatment and this is why it is essential to get the vaccination as it is the best way to prevent mosquito infections. Usually, doctors recommend getting complete bed rest and drinking lots of fluids as the patient can feel better. The healthcare professional can recommend not to take those pain relievers which can cause bleeding like aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If the patient's condition is severe, then it is recommended that the patient should get admitted to a hospital.


Yellow fever is a viral illness that requires immediate medical attention and is important to differentiate it from other illnesses like malaria, fever, dengue, etc. If you suspect that you might have yellow fever or have traveled recently to a region that is prone to yellow fever, then make sure to get in touch with internal medicine doctors at Rukmani Birla Hospital, Jaipur. They will assist you with the best management of the condition.



Which mosquito causes yellow fever?

The mosquito species known as Aedes aegypti causes the spread of yellow fever. 

Is yellow fever airborne?

No, yellow fever is not airborne. 

What is the difference between malaria and yellow fever?

Yellow fever is caused by a virus while malaria is caused by a parasite.