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Yellow fever: Understanding vaccinations

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Yellow fever (YF) is an acute, potentially fatal, viral haemorrhagic disease spread by day-biting mosquitoes. It is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Latin America. There is no specific treatment and up to 50% of severely affected people will die. There are an estimated 200,000 cases worldwide, causing 30,000 deaths each year, with 90% of these occurring in Africa. Vaccination is the most important preventive measure. 1 It is also important to highlight bite avoidance measures.

YF transmission
Aedes or Haemagogus mosquitoes bite from dawn to dusk and acquire YF by biting infected human or non-human primates. Transmission is primarily between monkeys, from monkeys to humans, and from person to person, via mosquito bites. YF has three transmission cycles: jungle, savannah and urban. In cities, risk can be reduced by eliminating mosquito breeding sites and avoiding mosquito bites (Figure 1).2,3


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