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Yellow fever

Throughout history many different diseases have infected the world. Such diseases consist of measles, mumps, malaria, typhus and yellow fever. Many of these diseases are caused by different things and originated in different countries. Yellow fever is a deadly disease caused by a viral infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although it is found to be most common in males in their early 20’s, yellow fever can affect any sex, race, or age.

Since yellow fever is carried by mosquitoes, it is most often found in areas such as Central America, the northern half of South America, and Central Africa where mosquitoes are abundant. The reason why it is found so often in these regions is because they are very close to the equatorial line, and are there for hot, moist, tropical environs. Yellow fever is also found in other areas besides the ones listed above. It can also be carried throughout South America and all of Africa.

Even though it can be carried to these places it is more often than not confined to areas surrounding the equator because mosquitoes have short life spans and yellow fever can be contracted and spread all year long in these tropical regions. In certain places, such as North America, yellow fever has been totally eliminated and the government suggests vaccination for the disease if a citizen is leaving the country. There are many symptoms of yellow fever and they vary depending on the severity of the disease.

Some of the symptoms are basically normal and would not lead the sufferer to believe that something was seriously wrong. The first symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, and backache are common and appear soon after a patient has contracted this disease, but as stated they are also the same symptoms of the common cold or flu. In most case these symptoms may take anywhere from three to six days to be seen after the infection has occurred. As the disease progresses the pulse slows and weakens, bleeding of the gums, and bloody urine occur.

In more severe, usually fatal cases, jaundice occurs, which is what the disease is named for. Jaundice is when the patient’s skin turns yellow and is the final definitive test to detect yellow fever, although by that stage it is usually too late. In the rare cases where people recover from the disease, the person develops an immunity to the disease. Unlike most diseases there is no definitive cure for yellow fever. The only remedy is to wait it out until the end and hope for the best.

There are some things that can be done to help relieve some of the pain and discomfort. Fluids may be given to the patient to help prevent dehydration. Low blood pressure and low blood sugar are two more of the advanced symptoms that occur in yellow fever victims. Antacids may be used to protect the stomach from bleeding and different medications are used for fever control. Even with good supportive care, yellow fever is still a dangerous disease in which death rates remain high. The most common cause of death in the case of most yellow fever victims is kidney failure.

Since there isn’t a real cure for the disease except for hope, vaccination becomes even more important to the people because it is the only prevention for the disease. Mosquito repellents, full covering clothing and screened housing may only reduce the chance of getting infected, but mosquitoes can be found in even well – protected areas. The vaccination is a one–dose, one–time only shot which may be given to anyone over the age of nine months, with the exception of people who are allergic to eggs, pregnant women and people who suffer from a suppressed immune system.

These people are not prime candidates for the vaccination because they are actually being infected with a small shot of yellow fever. Because of the complications that may be involved, which include mild headaches and muscle pains, there is also the risk for these people may actually come down with the actual disease itself and not just receive the vaccination. Side effects are usually present within 5-10 days of the vaccination. Knowing beforehand, these people should not travel to tropical regions without being extremely cautious, because of the high risk of getting infected.

In the case that a pregnant woman must travel to the tropical region, then she should be vaccinated, but should wait until after delivery to avoid complications associated with the vaccine. Babies are not candidates for receiving the vaccination. People traveling to the tropical region must carry a certificate stating that they have received the vaccination, which is good for 10 years, so that the local government is aware that the person has absolutely no risk of contracting this extremely deadly virus.

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