Yellow fever is a serious viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. It occurs mostly in Africa and South America. Although there is no specific treatment for yellow fever, most cases are mild, and those affected recover completely within a few days to a week. More severe cases may lead to serious bleeding, failure of the heart, liver, or kidneys, and death.
The yellow fever vaccine and proof of vaccination is currently required for travellers who plan to visit or transit certain countries in South America and Africa where the disease is active. In Canada, the vaccine is available only at certain travel medicine clinics designated as yellow fever centres.
If you are considering travel to an area where yellow fever occurs, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) strongly recommends a consultation with your local travel health clinic or a travel medicine doctor beforehand to evaluate your risk and consider whether you need to be immunized for yellow fever. Generally, people 9 months of age or older should be immunized with the vaccine for yellow fever if they plan to travel to areas in South America or Africa where yellow fever has been officially reported.
For some people the vaccine is not recommended except under special circumstances. Travellers who should check with a travel medicine clinic or travel health doctor to see if they should be vaccinated include:
- Pregnant women.
- Nursing mothers.
- Children 6 to 9 months of age.
- People older than 60 years of age.
- People with impaired immune systems or who take medicine that weakens the immune system.
- People with allergies or sensitivities to eggs.
For more detailed information, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health website at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/index-eng.php.
Current as of: December 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics