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Yellow Fever in Nigeria

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Key Points

  • A large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria began in September 2017. The outbreak is now spread throughout the country. The Nigerian Ministry of Health has reported cases of the disease in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
  • Travelers going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there.
  • Those never vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid travel to Nigeria during the outbreak.

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is caused by a virus. The virus is spread to people by mosquito bites. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. Symptoms take 3–6 days to develop after infection. About 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illness including bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.

What is the current situation?

The Nigeria Centers for Disease Control has reported an ongoing outbreak of yellow fever beginning in September 2017. Since then, the outbreak has expanded throughout the country. For current information, see the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

In response to this outbreak, Nigerian health authorities have conducted several mass vaccination campaigns.

What can you do to prevent yellow fever?

Get yellow fever vaccine

  • Yellow fever vaccine is the best protection against yellow fever disease, which can be fatal. Anyone 9 months or older who travels to Nigeria should be vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel.
  • For most travelers, one dose of yellow fever vaccine provides long-lasting protection. However, because of the current outbreak, Nigeria is considered a higher risk. For this reason, if you were vaccinated against yellow fever 10 or more years ago, talk to your doctor about getting a booster dose of vaccine before your travel.
  • Yellow fever vaccine is currently available at only a limited number of clinics in the United States. Contact yellow fever vaccine providers well in advance of travel. Click here to search for a yellow fever vaccine provider near you.
  • Talk with a health care provider if you have questions about the yellow fever vaccine. Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for some people.
  • If you have not been vaccinated against yellow fever (regardless of the reason), do not travel to Nigeria during this outbreak.

Prevent mosquito bites

Because mosquitoes spread yellow fever (and other diseases), prevent mosquito bites during travel to Nigeria by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net.

If you get sick during or after travel

Talk to a doctor or nurse if you get sick, especially if you have a fever. Tell them you have been in a country with yellow fever.

Additional Information:      

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