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Yellow Fever: Transmission, Symptoms, Treatment

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The Case in Nigeria

In July 16, 2019, the Ebionyi State Ministry of Health suspected an uprising of yellow fever cases in Ndingle Ward, Nigeria. Reports began emerging of people developing jaundice and having high temperature fever. Immediately, an investigation conducted by the Local Government Area (LGA) rapid response team lead them to the finding of low vaccination in the residents of the area and poor routine immunization documentation. Only 56% of the people that live in the area have been vaccinated for the yellow fever disease. One month later, 84 yellow fever cases were recorded including 26 reported deaths (“Yellow Fever – Nigeria.”). The majority affected by this disease have been children under the age of 10, and so far, 28 cases have been reported. There have also been 20 reported cases of young adults with the disease. The lowest percentage of cases is between the ages of 10 to 19, affecting a total of 16 people (“Yellow Fever – Nigeria.”).

What is Yellow Fever?

The yellow fever is a virus that is carried by aeges and haemogogus mosquitoes. It transmits a virus called Flavivirus that is lethal if you get bitten by one of the mosquitoes that carries it. These types of mosquitoes can live anywhere, but only in certain countries (most of them in Africa and South America). They can live around houses and within forests and jungles. Humans can cause the disease to spread; infected travelers distribute the disease to other countries where yellow fever is not common, but the disease can only spread if there are mosquitoes that are able to transmit the Flavivirus.

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Flavivirus develops inside the body for 3 to 6 days, and after that some people experience symptoms while others don’t. Those who feel symptoms experience muscle pain, fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting. Most of the time the symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days. Very few patients enter a toxic second phase of the virus that occurs within 24 hours of recovering from initial symptoms. High fevers begin and the liver and kidneys begin shutting down. This is the stage where jaundice develops as well as other symptoms, such as obscure urine, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding from the mouth, nose, eyes, and stomach. Most patients who enter this phase die within 7-10 days.


If the yellow fever disease is diagnosed early, the survival rate will improve. If a person seeks medical treatment, they can avoid liver and kidney failure, dehydration, and ultimately gain control of their fever. Within a hospital, doctors will be able to kill any bacteria inside the body using antibiotics. Currently there is no anti-viral drug to kill the virus, however scientists and researchers continue to investigate in search of the antidote. The Yellow Fever disease can be prevented with proper vaccination, mosquito repellant, and mosquito control. Mosquito control is essential for countries where vaccination rates are low or the vaccine is not in stock. The vaccine is safe and affordable, and it provides immunity against the disease for those who need it the most.


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