Yellow fever – Brazil
A yellow fever contagion in São Salvador and Peixe. One tourist has died.
Photo: Electron micro-graph of Yellow Fever Virus.
Yellow fever is a viral disease, of typically short duration, caused by the bite of an infected female mosquito. Only humans and primates can catch the disease. In most cases infection will be accompanied by fever, chills and loss of appetite. Muscle pains and headaches are also typical symptoms that improve within 5 days.
In about 15% of people, within a day of improving the fever comes back, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin. Death occurs in up to half of those who get severe disease.
A safe and effective vaccine against yellow fever exists, and some countries require vaccinations for travelers.
The disease originated in Africa and spread to South America in the 17th century with the Spanish and Portuguese importation of enslaved Africans from sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 17th century, several major outbreaks of the disease have occurred in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever was considered one of the most dangerous infectious diseases.
In 1927, yellow fever virus was the first human virus to be isolated.
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