Yellow fever is a viral disease transmitted to man by a specific type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti. This mosquito is commonly found in the tropical forests of South America and Africa. Although the Aedes mosquito is present in Hawaii, no yellow fever virus has been reported in the Hawaiian Islands. Both the Aedes mosquito and the yellow fever virus must be present together to spread the disease.
The severity of yellow fever symptoms varies widely and often include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting, and backache. In severe progressive disease, the pulse slows and weakens, the gums bleed, and the urine may contain blood. Yellowing of the skin (jaundice), nose bleeds, and bloody vomitus may also occur.
The symptoms begin 3 to 6 days after being bitten by infected Aedes mosquitoes.
You get yellow fever by being bitten by infected Aedes mosquitoes that inject the yellow fever virus into the bite.
The treatment for yellow fever consists mainly of bed rest, fluid /blood replacement (as needed), and supportive care.
People who have had yellow fever infection may expect to have lifelong immunity to the disease.
There is a vaccine available for yellow fever. Get vaccinated for yellow fever when you expect to travel to a country where yellow fever is present. Many countries require yellow fever vaccinations for international travelers who arrive from countries currently infected with yellow fever. Your doctor or the Department of Health can tell you which countries require proof of vaccination for entry.
In areas infested with mosquitoes, take measures to avoid mosquito bites by dressing appropriately, by using mosquito nets, placing screens on windows and doors, and applying insect repellents.
Last reviewed October 2017