Yellow Fever is a type of viral haemorrhagic disease that occurs due to infections transmitted by mosquitoes. The name ‘yellow’ was given since it mostly causes jaundice, a condition where the skin turns yellow. Also Read: Yellow Eyes? It Could Be Jaundice
The virus mostly affects humans and other primates. Yellow fever is usually transmitted by the female Aedes mosquito when it bites an infected human or other primate species. It takes up the RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus from the infected person and transmits it to others. Apart from a mosquito bite, the infection can also occur by using an infected needle.
The transmission from one host to another can even lead to severe epidemics when an infected person comes to a heavily populated area with high mosquito density and considerably less immunity. Once infected, the person can have severe liver damage along with failure or deterioration of several organs.
The World Health Organization approximates close to 2,00,000 people affected yellow fever every year on a worldwide basis leading up to 20,000 deaths due to deforestation, climatic changes, reduced immunity to infection among local populations, and high-density urbanization.
Once the person contracts the infection, the virus usually resides within the body and completes its incubation period in 3 to 7 days, during which the infected person may portray some of the common signs and symptoms which are:
- A high fever
- Muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shivers, or chills
The symptoms if not treated on time can lead to a severe fatal condition causing:
- Recurring fever
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting with blood
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Jaundice, which causes the skin and the whites of the eye turn yellow
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, and eyes
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Hallucination, seizures, which may lead to coma
- Arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats
Diagnosis And Treatment:
Although it is difficult to analyse yellow fever since the symptoms are similar to viral fever or flu. The chronic condition of the fever is often mistaken as viral hepatitis, leptospirosis, malaria, dengue, and other haemorrhagic fevers. It is strictly advised to rush to a doctor once you notice any of the above acute symptoms. The doctor usually does a complete physical check-up followed by a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing with the blood and urine samples to examine the correct strain of virus that causes the infection. A later stage of yellow fever is often diagnosed by the ELISA (i.e. enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test.
Treatment mostly includes admitting the infected person in the hospital to provide early supportive care. Although there are no specific anti-viral medications for yellow fever, the hospitals may provide services like taking care of dehydration by increasing the fluid intake, keeping the blood pressure under control, making sure the patient receives adequate oxygen and performing dialysis in case there is kidney failure. In severe cases, the doctor may also suggest doing a plasma transfusion to replace the proteins that help with clotting. Yellow fever can also be prevented by proper vaccination.
Yellow Fever can be prevented by following a few safety measures such as:
- Using mosquito net while sleeping
- Using oils that repel mosquito naturally
- Avoid outdoor activities during dawn, dusk or evening.
- Limiting the access of mosquitoes to water and with the use of insect repellents. Also Read: How To Safely Use Mosquito Repellents And Bug Sprays
- Wearing clothing that covers the whole body
- Using proper screening devices and window nets that do not allow mosquitoes to enter
- Using mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers
- Apply mosquito repellent containing permethrin to your clothes, shoes, other travel equipment, and mosquito nets
- You can also use mosquito repelling skin ointments containing DEET or picaridin to get protection for a longer time duration.