Yellow fever is a serious viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes in parts of Africa and South America. Symptoms can range from a non-specific temperature to severe fatal disease and up to 15 to 25% of people may have a relapse. While yellow fever does not occur in Australia, quarantine precautions work to prevent the introduction of yellow fever virus into Australian mosquitoes.
Vaccination is a legal requirement for people travelling through infected areas. If you are vaccinated, you will receive an International Certificate of Vaccination or prophylaxis. The certificate is valid 10 days after vaccination and is valid for 10 years. You must take this certificate with you when you travel to countries with yellow fever.
Yellow fever immunisation is recommended for:
- people aged 9 months or older travelling to, or living in, areas with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission. Information risk for specific destination should be sought from a reputable source, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), prior to travel
- laboratory staff who regularly work with yellow fever virus.
Yellow fever immunisation can only be given by approved Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres. Certain groups of people should not receive yellow fever vaccination, including people who are allergic to eggs.
Like all medications, vaccines may have side effects. Most side effects are minor, last a short time and do not lead to any long-term problems. Possible side effects may include mild headache, tiredness and fever for 5 to 10 days after being vaccinated. More serious side effects are extremely rare and can include severe allergic reactions. Contact your immunisation provider if you or your child has a reaction following vaccination which you consider serious or unexpected.
For further assistance, contact your local doctor, community health centre or nearest public health unit. There are registered Yellow fever immunisation providers throughout Australia. To find your closest provider, see a list of Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres or call Queensland Health Communicable Diseases Unit on 07 3328 9724.
- 13 HEALTH (call 13 43 25 84)
- Immunise Australia (call 1800 671 811)
- Smart Traveller – advice on travel immunisations
Heymann, D., ed. 2008. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 19th edition. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.
Australian Government, 2013. The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th Ed.