Most of us know about yellow fever only in the context of vaccinations for that disease required for travel to certain countries. However yellow fever is an acute vector borne, viral hemorrhagic disease, that is a scourge of the tropical and subtropical areas.
In the 19th century it was dreaded to be the most dangerous infectious disease and yellow fever symptoms were feared and dreaded and even today, there are about three hundred thousand cases that display yellow fever symptoms each year, with as many as thirty thousand deaths resulting from the infection.
The name ‘yellow fever’ comes from some of the later yellow fever symptoms, which result inliver damage and jaundice (hence the ‘yellow’).
It is complications like jaundice and hemorrhaging that happen as a result of yellow fever, which make this is deadly disease. Many cases of yellow fever are mild; however it can be a fatal disease.
Though a tropical disease that is largely seen in poorer, unvaccinated populations, the yellow fever symptoms are important to know about and recognize, since it is considered to be a ‘reemerging disease’ with increased numbers of cases since the 1980’s.
A majority of cases of yellow fever are mild, and do not progress beyond the first part of the disease when only mild symptoms may be felt. Yellow fever symptoms in the earlier phase of the disease are –
- Before any symptoms appear, there is an incubation period of 3 to 6 days for yellow fever.
- As the name suggests, fever is one of the first indications of this disease. The fever is often accompanied by chills.
- Headache and body ache; most often back pain, are other yellow fever symptoms.
- Nausaea and vomiting are also noted in the first phase of the disease.
- There could also be visible features of the disease such as flushing, blood shot eyes, and so on
- In addition there could be feelings of having a furry tongue
- Digestion problems such as constipation may also be noted and there could be lessening of the amount that a person urinates.
- There could be loss of appetite as well.
- General debility and being irritable are also symptoms, so for the most part, yellow fever symptoms are mild and not uncommon.
After this first stage of yellow fever, there could be a brief remission stage. This stage of yellow fever may last a few hours or may extend to a few days.
In stage three of the yellow fever of the toxic phase of the disease, the following yellow fever symptoms could be noted, in the 3 to 9 days following the remission phase.
- Inflammation of the liver is commonly noted when the disease progresses to the third phase.
- Symptoms of jaundice, such as yellowing of skin and eyes, red urine, are seen.
- There could be black or bloody vomit.
- There could also be other yellow fever symptoms such as kidney inflammation, high fever, slow heartbeat, delirium and confusion.
- Some of the most serious yellow fever symptoms are bleeding into the skin and mucus membrane bleeding.