Yellow fever: Global UpdateUpdated May 16, 2016
Released: May 11, 2016
Travel Health Notice
Yellow fever is a serious and occasionally fatal disease. It is caused by a virus which is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain (mostly back pain), yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. All unvaccinated travellers are at risk if going to a destination where yellow fever occurs.
Yellow fever occurs in 34 countries in Africa and 13 countries in Central and South America. The majority (90%) of the yellow fever cases reported every year occur in Africa. Outbreaks of locally-acquired yellow fever are currently occurring in Angola and Uganda. Cases of yellow fever linked to the outbreak in Angola have also been confirmed in China, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. A recent increase in the total number of yellow fever cases has also been observed in Peru.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers get vaccinated against yellow fever and protect themselves from mosquito bites if travelling to a country where yellow fever occurs. Some countries require that you show proof of yellow fever vaccination on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis to enter the country. For additional information see the recommendations below.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel.
- Get vaccinated:
- Get the yellow fever vaccine before you travel to a country with risk of yellow fever and countries requiring yellow fever vaccination.
- In Canada, the vaccine is only available at designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
- After you receive the vaccine, you will receive an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as proof of vaccination.
- If you are receiving the vaccine for the first time, be aware that it takes 10 days for it to become effective. Your International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis will become valid 10 days after the date of vaccination.
- Your health care provider will provide you with more detailed information related to the duration of validity of the certificate.
- One dose of the yellow fever vaccine provides life-long immunity against the disease. Consult your health care provider for specific recommendations based on your risk factors.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times, as the yellow fever virus is transmitted by a mosquito that can bite in daylight and evening hours. This includes the use of insect repellant and protective clothing.
- If you develop symptoms similar to yellow fever when you are travelling or after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.