Yellow Fever

Known also as Yellow Jack, Yellow Plague or Bronze John, this disease is transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito, a viral infection with symptoms lasting up to 5 days. This disease is responsible for up to thirty thousand deaths each year.

Origins

Capable of infecting primates, including humans, this virus originated in Africa, where most of the deaths as a result of Yellow Fever still occur. Death usually occurs as a result of a cytokine storm, followed by multiple organ failure. It was transported to the western hemisphere through the slave trade in the1700’s. Known as one of the most infectious viral diseases, numerous outbreaks dating back to the 1700’s have occurred around the world and even today, statistics show that outbreaks are again on the rise, despite the availability of an effective vaccine.

Preventative measures

The yellow fever virus is the first human viral infection to be isolated and an effective vaccine against this infection does exist. Many countries demand immunization in order to cross their borders, however, these measures do not completely stop the spread of the disease.

In badly affected areas, death occurs in up to half the affected people without early detection and treatment. Attempts to control the population of the transmitting mosquito have also been made, there is no effective method of treatment after symptoms have appeared.

Transport

The disease can be transmitted from mosquitoes mainly to primates in the jungles and then transported to urban areas via infected humans. Mainly transmitted by the Aegis aegypti, it can sometimes be transmitted by other species. When a mosquito drinks the blood of an infected human or animal, it can become infected and then transmit the virus to another human, this is commonly known as the urban cycle.

There are signs to indicate that a female mosquito can transmit the viral infection to her eggs, thus giving birth to a number of live carriers. This process is responsible for large, sudden outbreaks. It is said that the Yellow fever virus will never be completely eradicated.

Humans have endured many serious outbreaks of various types throughout our history and we continue to survive. It is not certain whether or not a virus will evolve into something that we cannot combat, but until that day, we must all do our part to reduce, or prevent disease transmission. Reduction of areas where mosquitoes can breed around the home, is a good way to start.

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