The best way to prevent this disease is with the yellow fever vaccine. Yellow fever is a very rare cause of illness in travelers, but most countries have regulations and requirements for vaccination that must be met prior to entering the country.
(Click Yellow Fever Vaccine for more information on this prevention strategy.)
Preventing mosquito bites also reduces your risk of getting yellow fever, along with other diseases that mosquitoes can carry. Take the common-sense steps to reduce your risk, including the use of:
- Insect repellent
- Protective clothing
- Mosquito netting.
(Click Yellow Fever Prevention for more suggestions on preventing mosquito bites.)
The first identified outbreak of yellow fever is believed to have occurred in Yucatan in 1648. In the more than 200 years that followed, yellow fever was considered one of the great plagues of the world. As late as 1905, many southern cities in the United States experienced several thousand cases and approximately one thousand deaths per year.
One of the most famous yellow fever epidemics occurred in Philadelphia in 1793. This epidemic led to over 5,000 deaths within Philadelphia (about 10 percent of the population). About half of the residents had fled the city during the summer of 1793. Philadelphia experienced several more outbreaks (1796 and 1797), but these were not as severe. In 1798, Philadelphia experienced another severe yellow fever epidemic, killing 1,292 Philadelphians.