Yesterday afternoon, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an alert for travelers heading to parts of Brazil. According to the official alert, officials in Brazil’s Ministry of Health have stated that there is an ongoing Yellow Fever outbreak that started in December of 2016. Initially in the Minas Gerais state, cases are now being seen in Sao Paulo and other surrounding areas. It is estimated that over 400 individuals have been infected thus far, with 40 confirmed deaths in humans and possibly 400 deaths in certain species of native monkeys. In an effort to fight back against the spread of this disease, Brazilian authorities are launching a widespread vaccination campaign to help immunize those who are currently unprotected. The CDC recommends that those traveling to effected areas of Brazil get vaccinated against yellow fever, or receive a booster if their last vaccination was over 10 years ago. Currently, there is a shortage of yellow fever vaccine, so getting vaccinated may take longer than usual.
Map of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, initial site of the current yellow fever outbreak. Brazilian officials are beginning to see yellow fever cases in neighboring Sao Paulo (v-brazil.com)
Here are some facts about Yellow Fever to help keep you informed:
- The Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) is an RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus – the same family of viruses that includes Dengue and Zika Virus
- Yellow Fever is commonly found in South America and Africa
- As with many other diseases, yellow fever virus is a vector-borne disease that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, either the Aedes or Haemagogus The virus can be spread to other humans if a mosquito bites an infected human and transfer virus with it while taking a blood meal.
- Most individuals who become infected with yellow fever will experience no symptoms or mild symptoms. For individuals who do experience symptoms, it usually takes between 3-6 days for them to appear after being infected. Common symptoms include:
- Sudden fever
- Severe headache
- Body aches
- Nausea / vomiting
- General weakness and fatigue
- In some cases (15%), the disease takes a severe course and includes symptoms such as high fever, jaundice, bleeding, shock, and possibly, death.
- There is no treatment for yellow fever, so hospitalized patients will receive general supportive care until the disease works its way out of the body
How to minimize your risk of contracting yellow fever:
- Get vaccinated!! Unlike other diseases in its family, the yellow fever virus vaccine is very effective at inducing immunity and does not require a booster in most cases. If you live in or are traveling to a region where yellow fever has been known to transmit, getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to remain safe
- Use mosquito repellent – repellents containing DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus have been proven to work the best
- Wear appropriate clothing – long sleeve tops and long pants are most effective at minimizing the amount of exposed skin that a mosquito could bite
- Avoid going outside at dusk and dawn – mosquitoes are most active during these times, so avoiding them will help minimize your risk of being bit
The Aedes mosquito, one of the species of mosquito that is involved in the transmission of yellow fever (bbc.com)
For more information, please visit:
CDC Yellow Fever Information
CDC February 1, 2017 Travel Alert
CDC Guidelines for Proper Mosquito Repellent Use
Hi Everyone! Sorry for the delay in getting this post out. I graduated from Drew University a few weeks ago and have been busy seeing family and friends. After my short break, I am back and ready to keep you informed! Going forward, I plan to have a new disease post at regular intervals, so make sure to follow Disease Detective to keep up to date!
This week, I am writing about measles, also known as Rubeola. Measles gained popularity in the media last year when a widespread outbreak began at Disneyland California and sickened many Americans across the West coast. Below, I have outlined the major facts about measles.
- Measles is an extremely contagious disease that is caused by the measles virus.
- The measles virus is commonly spread through contact with infected body fluids and through the air via sneezing and coughing.
- Globally, measles is one of the leading causes of death for young children.
- The early symptoms of measles include fever, cough, sore throat, and a runny nose. As the disease progresses, a rash begins to spread across the body, starting on the face and neck, and extending to the rest of the body and limbs.
- No antiviral treatments exist to treat patients with measles. The standard of care for those who are sickened involves providing supportive therapy to help the body fight off the virus.
- Patients who do not receive treatment will usually die from complications as a result of the measles virus. Common complications include severe dehydration and high fever, but some severe case may be accompanied by encephalitis and pneumonia.
- Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine to protect children and adults from contracting the measles virus. The MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) is administered in two doses to children to develop immunity against the virus. The measles vaccine has been used for over 50 years and is proven to be highly effective and safe. Additionally, vaccinating a child against the measles is very affordable, costing about $1.
- The WHO has established a goal to eradicate measles by the year 2020. This goal will be reached through an international vaccine effort, coordinated by the WHO.
- Many measles outbreaks in the United States, where vaccination against measles is mandatory, arise from one of two sources – either an unvaccinated individual travels oversees and contracts the disease, bringing it home and spreading it to others who are unvaccinated; OR a foreign individual who has the measles comes to the United States and spreads the disease to unvaccinated individuals.
Stereotypical rash found on patients with the measles virus (nhs.uk)
Keep following Disease Detective to learn more about other diseases! If you have a suggestion for future topics or hear of an interesting news story about diseases that you would like me to address, please comment below!
For more information: