Yellow Fever FAQs

Monday, November 04, 2019


What is yellow fever?

• Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus and is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is called 'yellow fever' because in serious cases, the skin or eyes turn yellow in colour.

Where does yellow fever virus occur?

• Yellow fever virus is found in tropical countries in South America and Africa including Nigeria.

How soon do people get sick after being bitten by an infected mosquito?

• The time from the bite of an infected mosquito to beginning of illness (incubation period) is usually between 3-6 days.

What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

• Sudden fever/chills

• Severe headache

• Back pain

• Muscle pain

• General body aches

• Nausea and vomiting

• Fatigue and weakness

In severe cases, a person may develop:

• High fever

• Jaundice (a condition that involves yellow discolouration of the skin and the eyes)

• Internal bleeding (especially from the digestive tract), leading to eventual shock and failure of many organs like the kidney and liver

How can I protect my family and self from contracting yellow fever?

• The most effective way to protect yourself and your family is by getting vaccinated against yellow fever.

Is the vaccine safe?

• Yes, the yellow fever vaccine is safe and very effective. One shot of the vaccine gives protection for life.

Who should be vaccinated against Yellow Fever?

• The yellow fever vaccine is essential for everyone from 9 months of age living in a yellow fever endemic country (like Nigeria).

Do I need another dose of the vaccine after the first vaccination?

• No, you don’t need a booster dose. Research has proven that a single shot of the vaccine protects against the disease for a life time. However, everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated during mass vaccination campaigns if carried out in your area, irrespective of your status.

Where can adults go for vaccination in states?

• For adults, the vaccine is affordable and readily available in health care facilities nationwide.

Is the yellow fever vaccine free?

• The yellow fever vaccine is free for children from 9 months old and is available as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule in government owned/public health facilities across the country. The vaccines are also administered free for everyone during mass vaccination campaigns.

Will there be any side effects when I get vaccinated?

• Reactions to yellow fever vaccine are generally mild. They can include: Mild headaches, Muscle aches, Low- grade fevers

What do I do if I experience severe reactions after taking the vaccine?

• If you experience severe reactions, please consult your healthcare provider or go back to the vaccination post IMMEDIATELY.

How can one get the vaccination card?

• All vaccinated persons are given the International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis (ICVP, called the yellow card) as evidence upon vaccination except for children who take the vaccine during routine immunisation.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination to travel to other countries?

• Yes, it is important to be vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days before traveling to or from a yellow fever endemic country.

Where can international travellers get vaccinated?

• International travellers can get vaccinated at least 10 days before departure at any Ports Health Service (PHS) office nationwide and obtain a valid vaccination card as evidence. If you have travelled through a yellow fever endemic country, and you do not have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate, you risk being refused entry into many countries or may be required to be vaccinated upon arrival in those countries.

Who should not receive the yellow fever vaccine?

• Infants younger than 9 months of age

• Adults above 60 years

• Anyone with a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine, including eggs, chicken proteins, or gelatin should not get the vaccine

If you have any of the following conditions, your healthcare provider can help you decide whether you can safely receive the vaccine:

• HIV/AIDS or other disease that affects the immune system

• Weakened immune system as a result of cancer or other medical conditions, transplant, or drug treatment (such as steroids, chemotherapy, or others that affect immune function)

• Pregnant women and nursing mothers

If I successfully recover from yellow fever, can I get re-infected in the future?

• No you cannot be infected again. The disease confers natural immunity for those who recover from it.

How is yellow fever diagnosed?

• Yellow fever is diagnosed through a blood test done in a designated public health reference laboratory.

Is there a cure for yellow fever?

• There is no specific treatment for yellow fever. However, supportive treatment can be provided; medicines can be used to relieve the symptoms and may improve the outcome for seriously ill patients if presented early at health facility.

Where can a suspected case of yellow fever be reported?

• If you notice symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and yellowness of the eyes, report immediately to the nearest health facility for treatment and close observation by health care workers. The NCDC toll-free call centre is also available to manage public enquiries and concerns. Toll free number: 0800 9700 0010, Whatsapp: +234 708 711 0839, SMS: +234 809 955 5577

How can one be aware when there is an outbreak in any state?

• During outbreaks, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) informs the public formally usually through a press statement. Situation reports and public health advisories are also published to keep the public informed on what to do to stay protected, as well as the government’s efforts to control the outbreak.

Are there other measures I can take to protect my family and self against contracting yellow fever?

• In addition to getting vaccinated, you can also protect yourself from mosquito bites through the following measures:

• Use insect repellants

• Wear protective clothing

• Destroy breeding grounds for mosquitoes by eliminating stagnant water and shrubs in your environment

• Staying in rooms with screens or air conditioner

What measures is the government taking to prevent the spread of yellow fever?

• Inclusion of yellow fever vaccine in Routine Immunisation

• Conduct reactive vaccination campaigns once an outbreak is declared in at risk communities and surroundings

• Creating awareness on yellow fever prevention on various media platforms

• Enhanced surveillance using the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy to rapidly detect outbreaks; the IDSR framework makes surveillance and laboratory data more usable, helping public health managers and decision-makers improve detection and response to outbreaks of diseases such as yellow fever

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