Yellow fever – Venezuela

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Seven cases of yellow fever in Monagas municipality have been confirmed by PCR. There is 1 case in Carapal del Tigre and 6 in Merey of Amana locality. These are the first cases reported in Venezuela since November 2019.

Symptoms of yellow fever (fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches) develop 3-6 days after infection. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever virus will develop severe illness that can lead to liver disease, bleeding, shock, organ failure, yellowing skin (jaundice), and sometimes death.

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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