In May 2013, the WHO announced that: 'A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease and a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine is not needed.'1
This is good news. However, the statement was made before any nation was in a position to review its policies under the International Health Regulations (IHRs). The announcement caused a degree of confusion among those who advise people intending to travel abroad.
The WHO announcement has changed the advice that nurses should give to those travelling to yellow fever endemic areas or whose itinerary may require a yellow fever vaccination certificate at some point on their journey.
Infection and prevention
Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease is endemic in 31 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and 13 in tropical South America.2
Yellow fever has a short incubation period of three to six days. In the acute phase, the virus causes fever, muscle pain, backache, headache, shivers, loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting. Most patients improve after three to four days.2