Yellow fever is a disease caused by the yellow fever virus. It is spread by infected mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and South America. Illness ranges from fever to bleeding and jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes). A vaccine is available and recommended for most people who plan to travel to areas with yellow fever risk.
Maps of regions with yellow fever risk are on CDC's website:
Washington State does not have the type of mosquitoes known to carry the yellow fever virus. Residents of Washington are mainly at risk of being infected if they travel to areas with ongoing mosquito transmission of the virus and haven't been vaccinated against the virus.
Most people infected with yellow fever have mild or no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear between 3 to 6 days from the mosquito bite. Initial symptoms commonly include:
- sudden fever
- severe headache
- back pain
- muscle aches
Most people with these symptoms improve within a week. One in seven people will feel better for a few hours or a day, but then develop more severe disease, which includes symptoms such as high fever, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), and bleeding, and eventually shock and organ failure. Among those who develop severe disease, 30 percent to 60 percent die.
Anyone who develops symptoms consistent with yellow fever after traveling to or living in an area at risk for yellow fever should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen) and visit their healthcare provider.
Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for persons aged 9 months or older who are living in or traveling to areas with risk of yellow fever virus transmission, such as places in Africa and South America.
Certain countries also require proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry. Vaccination requirements and recommendations for specific countries are available on CDC's Travelers' Health webpage.
For more information on vaccinations for travelers, visit DOH's Travel Immunizations webpage.
Avoid mosquito bites
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites while traveling to areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.
- Using insect repellants registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Find the repellent that is right for you.
- Dressing yourself and family members in clothing that covers arms and legs to reduce mosquito bites.
- Covering cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
- Sleeping under mosquito nets or in rooms with screens on windows and doors.
Washington State Department of Health information
- For Healthcare Providers: Becoming a certified provider for yellow fever vaccine in WA State
- Travel Immunizations
- Yellow Fever Reporting Requirements For Healthcare Providers
- Guideline for Local Health Jurisdictions (PDF)