16 Mar 2017

Yellow fever cases in travellers

European travellers visiting yellow fever risk regions in South America Yellow fever cases in travellers
On 14 March 2017 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that, since August 2016, a total of four cases of yellow fever have been reported in European travellers who visited yellow fever risk regions in South America [1].

Two yellow fever cases, one fatal, were reported in French travellers in Peru on 10 August 2016. A third case, in a Danish traveller in Bolivia, was confirmed on 13 February 2017 [2]. The fourth case, in a Dutch traveller in Suriname, was reported on 13 March 2017 [3].

All these travellers had not been vaccinated against yellow fever [1].

Prior to these cases, between 1970 and 2015 a total of ten yellow fever cases were reported in unvaccinated travellers from Europe and the United States who visited South America or West Africa [4].

Advice for travellers

Yellow fever is spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. You should take insect bite avoidance measures, day and night, when visiting countries with a risk of any disease transmitted by insects.

If you are travelling to countries with risk of yellow fever, as well as mosquito bite avoidance, vaccination is recommended for your personal protection.

Full details of yellow fever vaccination recommendations for countries can be found on our Country Information pages.

Details of the countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination as a condition of entry under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) are also provided. Travellers are reminded that countries may change their certificate requirements at short notice.

Advice for health professionals

When undertaking yellow fever risk assessment, health professionals should refer to individual Country Information pages which provide detail relating to risk areas, recommendation for yellow fever vaccine and IHR (2005) certificate requirements are available. Some travellers may require vaccine for certificate purposes. 

Maps showing the current areas where yellow fever vaccine is recommended in the Americas and Africa

Health professionals are also encouraged to access the Outbreak Surveillance Database, where the details of outbreaks are posted.

Under the International Health Regulations (2005) countries are no longer required to automatically report yellow fever outbreaks to the WHO and surveillance and reporting of yellow fever in risk countries can be poor.

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