Yellow Fever in Nigeria
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- There is an outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria, first reported in November 2020.
- Yellow fever is caused by a virus transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes.
- Travelers to Nigeria should take steps to prevent yellow fever by getting vaccinated at least 10 days before travel and taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- The outbreak is currently in Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Enugu states. Unless vaccinated, travelers should not visit these areas.
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever.
Symptoms of yellow fever (fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches) develop 3-6 days after infection. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever virus will develop severe illness that can lead to liver disease, bleeding, shock, organ failure, yellowing skin (jaundice), and sometimes death.
Diagnosis is based on symptoms, laboratory testing, and travel history. Yellow fever virus spreads through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
What is the current situation?
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is reporting yellow fever outbreaks in multiple states (Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Enugu) as confirmed by testing at the Nigerian National Reference Laboratory. Response activities are underway and mass vaccination campaigns are planned in the affected areas.
The government of Nigeria requires that all travelers 9 months of age or older show proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter the country. A signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP or “Yellow Card”) provides proof of vaccination.
What can travelers do to prevent yellow fever?
There are no medications to treat or cure yellow fever. Yellow fever vaccine is the best protection against this disease. Travelers should also use mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
All travelers 9 months or older going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel. Documentation of vaccination against yellow fever is required by the government of Nigeria to enter the country.
- Yellow fever vaccine is currently available at 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 provider near you.
- Travelers going to places where yellow fever outbreaks are occurring are at increased risk of infection, even if vaccinated in the past. For this reason, if you received yellow fever vaccine 10 or more years ago, talk with a health care provider about getting a booster vaccination before traveling anywhere in Nigeria where there is a declared yellow fever outbreak.
- 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 cannot be vaccinated against yellow fever (for whatever reason), do not travel to places where yellow fever outbreaks are occurring.
Because mosquitoes spread yellow fever (and other diseases), all travelers to Nigeria should take steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Sleep in an air-conditioned room with the windows closed, a room with window screens, 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.
- Yellow Fever in CDC Yellow Book (Health Information for International Travel)
- Yellow Fever Vaccine Information for Healthcare Providers
- Yellow Fever Vaccine: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (MMWR 2010)