The yellow fever virus is a disease that’s transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While it’s not a common virus found in the U.S., those who travel out-of-country should be aware of the disease and if they will be required to be vaccinated against it.
The yellow fever virus is a disease found in tropical and subtropical regions, specifically in South Africa and Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infected mosquitoes spread the virus to humans, which can cause a number of symptoms and illness to occur. Most people won’t show symptoms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but if they do appear, the most common include muscle pain, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
While it’s very rare for U.S. travelers to become infected with the disease while traveling, it’s not impossible. If you’re planning on traveling to a tropical area, be sure to know whether or not it’s required to receive a yellow fever vaccine before you visit the country. This will not only keep you protected during your trip, but the vaccine protects you for life against the disease, according to Trip Savvy.
Some key countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination include:
- Central African Republic
- Republic of Congo
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- French Guiana
- Sierra Leone
Other countries have yellow fever vaccine requirements depending on the country you are traveling from or have recently traveled to. The WHO provides a full list of countries and territories that require a yellow fever vaccine depending on where an individual is traveling from.
But, is it recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever even if your destination doesn’t require you to be vaccinated?
“Yellow fever vaccination is generally not recommended in areas where there is low potential for yellow fever virus exposure (no human cases of yellow fever ever reported and evidence to suggest only low levels of yellow fever virus transmission in the past),” WHO said in an International Travel and Health document. “However, vaccination might be considered for a small subset of travelers to these areas who are at increased risk of exposure to mosquitoes or are unable to avoid mosquito bites.”
When deciding to be vaccinated against yellow fever, it’s not recommended to receive the vaccination if you won’t be at risk. WHO encourages only those to be vaccinated if they will be at risk of contracting the disease.
“When considering vaccination, any traveler must take into account the risk of being infected with yellow fever virus, country entry requirements, and individual risk factors (e.g., age, immune status) for serious vaccine-associated adverse events,” WHO said.
Need a yellow fever vaccine? Schedule an appointment at your local Passport Health by calling or schedule online now.
Written for Passport Health by Elle Johnson. Elle is a freelance journalist and social media content creator in Florida. Not only does she enjoy working as a freelancer, but in her free time she enjoys working on fictional stories.