Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito bites. A mosquito can bite a primate, like a monkey or person infected with yellow fever and transfer yellow fever to another primate. Only female mosquitoes are found to transmit yellow fever.
Mosquito repellents with DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus can help prevent mosquito bites. The higher the DEET concentration, the longer the insect repellent lasts. Covering up exposed skin by wearing long pants or long sleeve shirts is also beneficial.
If you are wearing sunscreen, apply the sunscreen before applying mosquito repellent. Using DEET insect repellent decreases the effectiveness of sunscreen by 30%, so additional measures such as a sun hat or sun shirt may be necessary.
Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk, so try to avoid being outside or near standing water sources during these times. If you are bitten by a mosquito carrying yellow fever, symptoms could appear 3-6 days after infection.
Mosquitoes carry so many other diseases besides yellow fever, including Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, and more. These diseases can be deadly, but they can also cause harm to unborn fetuses of pregnant women. It is important to prevent mosquito bites regardless of vaccination status.
It is unlikely that you would be able to get back to the United States to be treated, and health insurance usually does not cover international treatment. Finding an English-speaking doctor and coming up with the funds to receive medical care in a foreign country would be stressful.
Vaccination against yellow fever is highly recommended for countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and required for entrance into some countries. Failure to get vaccinated before arrival can disrupt your whole trip.
Make an appointment at any of the Arizona Away Clinic locations to learn more about mosquito repellents, and get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis or yellow fever!