Travel Vaccines for Yellow Fever

When you travel to a new country or continent, you aren’t just exposed to a new culture and environment, but to a plethora of new disease causing agents for which your body is not prepared. While in most cases these new infections can be beaten off by your body’s natural defences, there are particularly virulent conditions prevalent in certain parts of the world that can cause severe sickness if you don’t take any pre-emptive protective measures. Yellow fever is one such disease, and is highly contagious in the parts of the world where it can be found, meaning that it is advisable that you secure the necessary vaccination before visiting.

Yellow fever and where it is found

Yellow fever is passed on by mosquitos found in tropical locations in Africa and South America. The condition is caused by a virus that causes a fever, severe nausea and pain, which can potentially result in liver damage that can, in the most severe of cases, be fatal. Because of the bleeding induced by yellow fever, the condition is classed as a haemorrhagic fever, which basically means that while the fever is going on there are bleeding issues also being caused by the disease.

Yellow fever is a serious concern in parts of the world where it is endemic, and it is estimated that there are at least 200,000 cases every year in parts of the world where there is no regular vaccination against the condition, with about 30,000 of those resulting in death. Because of this securing vaccination against the disease is you are travelling to tropical climes in South America and Africa is a highly recommended precaution.

Travel vaccines against yellow fever

Unfortunately vaccinations against yellow fever are not covered by the NHS, and you will be required to pay a small fee regardless of whether you organise a vaccination at your GP’s surgery or at a private practice.

The vaccine is highly effective and has been available since half way through the 20th century. The vaccine can offer 95% effectiveness 10 days after the first injection, which is why it is advised that you arrange to have the injection about 2 weeks before your departure. The immunisation the vaccine offers can last for at least 10 years, although around 80% of those vaccinated retain immunity as long as 30 years later.

Some countries require evidence of vaccination against yellow fever before entry is allowed into the country. In these cases it is because the country in question runs a very high risk of outbreak and epidemic should the disease make its way into the country. A list of these countries is provided by the World Health Organisation, and a certificate of vaccination can only be provided 10 days after vaccination, but remain valid for 10 years should you wish to return.

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