The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. It is typically found in tropical and subtropical areas in Africa and South America. Yellow fever is a rare cause of illness among U.S. travelers. 

Symptoms
About 3 to 6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, the individual develops symptoms including headache, fever, joint aches, vomiting, and jaundice. After 3 to 4 days, the person may go into remission; many people recover at this stage. But within 24 hours, about 15 percent of infected individuals develop symptoms of a more severe form of the disease. These include high fever, jaundice, bleeding, and eventually shock and organ failure. Among those who develop severe disease, 20 to 50 percent may die. 

Treatment
Although there is no treatment for the virus, many of the symptoms can be addressed. Rest, fluids, and use of medication to reduce the fever can help. However, aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, should not be used because they may increase the risk of bleeding. 

Prevention
A vaccine for yellow fever is available, and it offers the best protection against the virus. The vaccine—a live, weakened strain of the virus—is given as a single shot. For people who remain susceptible, the shot should be given every 10 years. Other precautions that can be taken include sleeping in screened areas to avoid contact with mosquitoes, using mosquito repellants, and wearing clothing that fully covers the body.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002341/
https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/symptoms/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/vaccine/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/prevention/index.html

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: The only way public health agencies can deal with infectious disease is to have good surveillance in place, wait for an outbreak to happen in a human population, and then rush to contain it.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

  • Correct!

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

Infectious Disease Defined

World Health Organization (WHO)

The directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system, responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

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