Yellow Fever in Ethiopia

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

COVID-19 is spreading worldwide. CDC recommends you avoid all nonessential international travel. If you must travel, follow the recommendations in the Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice, in addition to any travel health recommendations provided in this notice. 

Key Points

  • There is an outbreak of yellow fever in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.
  • Travelers going to Ethiopia should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there.
  • If you have not been vaccinated against yellow fever, you should avoid travel to SNNPR during the outbreak.
What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread 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 Ethiopia Public Health Institute has reported an outbreak of yellow fever in SNNPR beginning in March 2020. The beginning of the rainy season is expected to increase the number of mosquitos that carry the disease

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 of age or older who travels to Ethiopia should get the yellow fever vaccine 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, SNNPR 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 travel.
  • Yellow fever vaccine is currently available at only a limited number of clinics in the United States. Some clinics may be closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact yellow fever vaccine providers well in advance of travel. 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 SNNPR during this outbreak.

Prevent mosquito bites

Because mosquitoes spread yellow fever (and other diseases), prevent mosquito bites during travel to Ethiopia 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

Clinician Information

This notice was originally posted April 23, 2020.