Yellow fever is a serious infection spread by mosquitoes. It's found in certain areas of Africa and South and Central America. You should have a yellow fever vaccination if you're travelling to an area where there's a risk of getting it.
Check if you're at risk of yellow fever
You can get yellow fever if you're bitten by an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that carry the yellow fever virus bite during the day.
Yellow fever is very common in certain parts of the world, including:
- parts of sub-Saharan Africa (the area below the Sahara desert)
- parts of South America, including Trinidad and Tobago
- parts of Central America
Yellow fever is not found in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands.
Check before you travel
How to lower your risk of yellow fever
If you're travelling to an area where yellow fever is found, there are some things you can do to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers to cover your arms and legs, particularly during early morning and early evening
use insect repellent on your skin (ideally one that contains the ingredient DEET)
close windows and doors whenever possible, or use blinds or screens
sleep under a mosquito net treated with insecticide, including during the day
The yellow fever vaccine is recommended if:
- you're travelling to an area where yellow fever is found
- you need a yellow fever certificate to prove you've been vaccinated
Some people at risk of yellow fever through their work should also get vaccinated.
The yellow fever vaccine is safe for most people who are 9 months old or over.
You have to pay for the yellow fever vaccine for travel, and you can only get it from registered yellow fever vaccination centres.
Yellow fever vaccination centres
Symptoms of yellow fever
Yellow fever symptoms usually start 3 to 6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but sometimes they can take longer to appear.
Some yellow fever symptoms are similar to flu, such as:
- high temperature
- feeling or being sick
- aches and pains
- loss of appetite
- feeling generally unwell
These symptoms often last 3 or 4 days. But a small number of people get more serious symptoms within 24 hours of feeling better.
More serious symptoms include:
- yellowing of your skin and eyes (jaundice)
- dark pee
- stomach pain
- bleeding from your eyes, nose, mouth or stomach – you may have blood in your vomit or poo
These more serious symptoms can be fatal.
Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:
- you feel unwell after travelling to a country where yellow fever is found
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Tell anyone you speak to about your recent travel, and if you were bitten by a mosquito or might have been.
If you become unwell while you're abroad, get medical help as soon as possible. Do not wait until you get back to the UK.
Treatment for yellow fever
There's no specific treatment for yellow fever.
Most people make a full recovery after 3 or 4 days.
Things you can do to help ease your symptoms include:
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, which can help lower your temperature and relieve muscle pain or backache
- drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
If you have more serious symptoms of yellow fever, you'll need to go into hospital immediately to be treated.