Yellow fever is a life-threatening medical condition. It is caused by a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical countries and regions. Monkeys are the main carriers of this particular virus.
In some cases of yellow fever, its symptoms are somehow similar to influenza. However, in fatal cases, the high body temperature developed could lead to very serious after-effects such as meningitis, internal bleeding and kidney failure.
This physiological condition could cause sudden epidemics to emerge. Even though effective and safe vaccines were already developed in order to prevent yellow fever, wide epidemics still occur and cause thousands of deaths in various tropical regions.
If you want to keep yourself safe from yellow fever, you should be aware of its common causes and symptoms, how it is passed on and how to prevent or treat this disease. Once you have become equipped with all the important information about yellow fever, you would never need to worry the next time you get a mosquito bite.
What are its causes?
The virus that causes yellow fever belongs to the Flaviviridae family, which also caused Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. This virus is usually introduced to the human bloodstream through the saliva of mosquitoes as they bite through the human skin. After this, the virus transports to different parts of the body and reproduces itself in different body cells. It usually targets cells in the blood vessels, the kidneys and the liver. In serious cases of yellow fever, the virus it carries could cause the body’s cells to damage themselves.
The muscular pain and fever felt during the development of yellow fever is caused by the dysfunction in the body’s immune system. When the cells of the immune system are affected by the yellow fever virus, it releases large portions of signalling substances and causes an increase in the sufferer’s body temperature.
What are its symptoms?
Yellow fever usually develops in a span of three to sixteen days. Some of its first signs include fever, muscle pain, nausea, headache, and vomiting. When misdiagnosed, patients would experience a gradual and temporary recovery from these symptoms until they develop more serious diseases and die.
How is it passed on?
The yellow fever virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that carry this virus are usually present in the tropical regions of Africa and South America, but not in Asia.
The jungle cycle begins when the mosquito sucks blood from a monkey carrying the yellow fever; it develops a temporary infection and the virus starts to accumulate in its salivary glands. When a person gets bitten by an infected mosquito, the urban cycle begins and the infected person transmits the virus to other people. This causes epidemic outbreaks of yellow fever.
How can you protect yourself?
The best way to protect yourself from yellow fever is to get a vaccine that could fight the yellow fever virus. It protects you for about ten days after the vaccination. Doctors recommend the repetition of the vaccination every ten years. However, yellow fever vaccines could develop serious side effects to old people who are over sixty years of age, or those who were born with problems in their thymus.
These are the most important pieces of information you must know about yellow fever. Now that you already know its causes and symptoms and how it is transmitted, it would be easier for you to keep yourself safe from the yellow fever virus.