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Yellow fever

General information

Yellow fever is a severe infectious disease which only occurs in African and South America. Yellow fever does not exist in Asia. One must differentiate between areas in which the virus circulates between monkeys and sporadically jumps over to humans, and areas in which epidemics occur when viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes from human to human.

Adverse effects of yellow fever vaccination

The following adverse effects are listed in the package insert for the vaccine: Local reactions (reddening, swelling, pain). General reactions (such as headaches, elevated temperature, malaise). Allergic reactions (rare). Very rare: Arthalgia. Extremely rare: neurological occurrences such as meningitis, encephalitis or meningial encephalitis. Exceptions: anaphylactoid reactions, sometimes yellow fever disease after vaccinations with live vaccines.

The adverse effects of the vaccinations are frequent and occur in 25% of all people who have been vaccinated. 10% of people who were vaccinated have problems at the site of injection. In 20% of the cases there are elevated temperature, headaches and joint pain a few days after the vaccination. Repeatedly there have been severe complications and even mortalities (Merlo C, Steffen R, Landis T, Tsai T: Possible association of Encephalitis and 17D yellow fever vaccination in a 29-year-old traveller. Vaccine 1993; 11: 691, Drouet A, Chagnon A, Valance J et al.: Meningoencephalitis after immunization with 17D yellow fever virus. Rev Med Interne 1993; 14: 257–259, Vasconcelos PFC, Luna EJ, Galler R et al.: Serious adverse events associated with yellow fever 17DD vaccine in Brazil: a report of two cases. Lancet 2001; 358: 91–97, Chan RC, Penney DJ, Little D et al.: Hepatitis and death following vaccination with 17D-204 yellow fever vaccine. Lancet 2001; 358: 121–122, Martin M, Tsai TF, Cropp B et al.: Fever and multisystem organ failure associated with 17D-204 yellow fever vaccination: a report of four cases. Lancet 2001; 358: 98–104, Fever, jaundice, and multiple organ system failure associated with 17-derived yellow fever vaccination, 1996–2001. Morb Mortal Weekly Rep 2001; 50: 643–645), which is why the WHO thinks it is necessary to focus more on possible effects of the vaccination (Adverse events following yellow fever vaccination. Weekly Epid Rec 2001; 76: 217–218)

For more information please refer to:

Yellow fever

Yellow fever vaccination

Reported cases:
vaccindamage database

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