Yellow fever – Venezuela

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October 1, 2021 – Seven cases of yellow fever were reported in Venezuela. The demographics of the reported cases include five adult males between the age of 24 to 82, one young pregnant woman (age not disclosed), and an uncharacterized individual. No deaths were reported.

Three of the cases initially present with no symptoms between September 20, 2021 to September 24, 2021 while the remaining four were symptomatic during that time period. All cases reported a fever with one of the cases also presenting with signs of a rash, headache, retro ocular pain, and arthralgias. The source suspects the environmental origin to be a rural parish locality. The source also states that between August 11, 2021 and October 1, 2021, there have been 10 identified epizootic non-human primates in the environment.

Yellow fever is a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is a short-lived virus with an incubation period that last 3-6 days in the body. It presents with the symptoms such as rash, headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. Sever cases of yellow fever result in liver complications. The virus is preventable with a vaccine as there is no treatment once infected. It is likely that the individual cases have been exposed to a mosquito carrying the virus.

According to the source, current public health interventions include surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, sampling, strengthening vector control activities, and strengthening vaccination activity.

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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