Saturday, September 14, 2019

Yellow Fever: How To Handle Yellow Fever In Nigeria

Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by a particular type of mosquito. The infection is most common in areas of Africa and South America. This article shall answer your question on causes and treatment of yellow fever.

Yellow fever in Nigeria

What is Yellow fever?

In mild cases, yellow fever causes a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. But yellow fever can become more serious, causing heart, liver and kidney problems along with bleeding (hemorrhaging). Up to 50 percent of people with the more-severe form of yellow fever die of the disease.

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There's no specific treatment for yellow fever. But getting a yellow fever vaccine before traveling to an area in which the virus is known to exist can protect an individual from the disease.

Symptoms of yellow fever

During the first three to six days after contacting yellow fever which is the incubation period , the affected individual won't experience any signs or symptoms.

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After this, the infection enters an acute phase and then, in some cases, a toxic phase that can be life-threatening.

A) Acute phase

Once the infection enters the acute phase, the signs and symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • Fever.

  • Headache.

  • Muscle aches, particularly in your back and knees.

  • Sensitivity to light.

  • Nausea, vomiting or both.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Dizziness.

  • Red eyes, face or tongue.

These signs and symptoms usually improve and are gone within several days.

B) Toxic phase

Although signs and symptoms may disappear for a day or two following the acute phase, some people with acute yellow fever then enter a toxic phase. During the toxic phase, acute signs and symptoms return and more-severe and life-threatening ones also appear. These can include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice).

  • Abdominal pain and vomiting, sometimes with blood.

  • Decreased urination.

  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes.

  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia).

  • Liver and kidney failure.

  • Brain dysfunction, including delirium, seizures and coma.

The toxic phase of yellow fever can be fatal.

Yellow fever

When to see a doctor if you have symptoms of yellow fever

A) Before travelling

Four weeks or more before your trip, make an appointment to see your doctor if you're traveling to an area in which yellow fever is known to occur so that you discuss whether you need the yellow fever vaccine.

B) After travelling

Seek emergency medical care if you've recently traveled to an area where yellow fever is known to occur and you develop signs or symptoms of the toxic phase of the disease. Go to the hospital you develop mild symptoms, after traveling to a region where yellow fever occurs.

Causes of yellow fever

It is caused by a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations where they breed in even the cleanest water. Most cases of yellow fever occur in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.

Humans and monkeys are most commonly infected with the yellow fever virus. Mosquitoes transmit the virus back and forth between monkeys, humans or both. When a mosquito bites a human or a monkey infected with yellow fever, the virus enters the mosquito's bloodstream and circulates before settling in the salivary glands. When the infected mosquito bites another monkey or human, the virus then enters the host's bloodstream, where it may cause illness.

Risk factors of yellow fever

  1. Travelling to an area where mosquitoes carries the yellow fever virus. These areas include sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.

  2. Not being vaccinated: Anyone can be infected with the yellow fever virus, but older adults are at greater risk of getting seriously ill.

Complications of yellow fever when left untreated

Yellow fever results in death for 20 to 50 percent of those who develop severe disease. Complications during the toxic phase of a yellow fever infection include

  1. kidney and liver failure

  2. jaundice

  3. coma.

People who survive the infection recover gradually over a period of several weeks to months, usually without significant organ damage. During this time a person may experience fatigue and jaundice. Other complications include; secondary bacterial infections e.g pneumonia or blood infections.

How to Prevent yellow fever

A) Vaccination: A highly effective vaccine exists to prevent yellow fever. Yellow fever is known to be present in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria.A single dose of the yellow fever vaccine provides protection for at least 10 years. Side effects are usually mild, lasting five to 10 days, and may include headaches, low-grade fevers, muscle pain, fatigue and soreness at the site of injection.The vaccine is considered safest for those between the ages of 9 months and 60 years.

B) Preventing Mosquito bites: In addition to getting the vaccine, you can help protect yourself against yellow fever by protecting yourself against mosquitoes.

Reduce your exposure to mosquitoes:

  1. Avoid unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.

  2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas.

  3. Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing.

  4. Use bed nets, neets that have been pre-treated with insecticide offer additional protection.

To ward off mosquitoes with repellent, use both of the following:
  1. Nonskin repellent: Apply permethrin-containing mosquito repellent to your clothing, shoes, camping gear and bed netting. You can buy some articles of clothing and gear pre-treated with permethrin. Permethrin is not intended for use on your skin.

  2. Skin repellent: Products with the active ingredients provide long-lasting skin protection. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, and use only the amount needed for the time you'll be outdoors. Don't use DEET on the hands of young children or on infants under 2 months of age.

Diagnosis of yellow fever

Diagnosing yellow fever based on signs and symptoms can be difficult because early in its course, the infection can be easily confused with malaria, typhoid, dengue fever and other viral hemorrhagic fevers.

  1. Travel history

  2. Blood sample for testing: blood may reveal the virus itself. If not, blood tests also can detect antibodies and other substances specific to the virus.

Treatment of yellow fever

  • No antiviral medications have proved helpful in treating yellow fever.

  • Treatment consists primarily of supportive care in a hospital. This includes providing fluids and oxygen, maintaining adequate blood pressure, replacing blood loss, providing dialysis for kidney failure, and treating any other infections that develop. Some people receive transfusions of plasma to replace blood proteins that improve clotting.

Note: It is recommended that affected individuals stay away from mosquitoes, to avoid transmitting the disease to others and once a person is exposed to yellow fever, such individual is immune to the disease for the rest of his or her life.

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