Yellow Fever

By: Philippe Jay

What is Yellow Fever?

Yellow Fever is a disease caught from the Aedes Aegypt mosquito in Africa and South America. It came to America during the slave trade in the 1500s and was regarded as one of the Earth's most deadly diseases. The name "Yellow Fever" comes from the yellow skin and eyes that patients get in the disease's 2nd stage.


Symptoms for the 1st stage of Yellow Fever include: vomiting, bleeding, headache, and nausea. The incubation period for Yellow Fever is about 3-6 days. For most people that is all they get for a few days; but the unlucky 15% of people will enter a 2nd, more harmful, stage of the disease where symptoms will include: kidney failure and yellow skin and eyes. People in the 2nd stage are put under life support. 50% of people survive the 2nd stage with little organ damage.

Organs Affected

The liver and kidney are mainly affected from Yellow Fever. The disease affects the liver causing yellow skin and eyes and leading to kidney failure. 50% of people will not get as bad symptoms and heal with little organ damage.

No Treatments, Only Vaccines

There are no medicines proven to treat Yellow Fever so the only thing a doctor can is do is treat the symptoms. The body can't maintain anything so the doctor must maintain heat, fluids, etc... Sometimes painkillers are enough to remove all the pain that comes with Yellow Fever. The best thing a person can do, is to take a yellow fever vaccine a few days before travelling into infected areas. Though the vaccine has been proven to sometimes be dangerous or even fatal.

Similar Diseases

Similar diseases to Yellow Fever include: Dengue Fever, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, and West Nile Virus since they are all mosquito-borne diseases.


20-50% of people die from Yellow Fever because of its dangerous symptoms that it comes with. Up to 50% of people that get no medication for Yellow Fever will die after catching it. About 82 people die from Yellow Fever every day. Yellow Fever kills about 30,000 people each year with 90% of them being in Africa. This is due to the fact that the disease originated in Africa and many Africans don't have the money to get treatments for it. Older people have a higher chance of catching Yellow Fever.


Yellow Fever first originated in the 1500s during the slave trade to the New World. Historians think that the disease came from slaves who had been bitten by the mosquito and brought the disease to other countries. Though it was only in 1881 that Carlos Finlay discovered that the disease came from mosquitoes, yet he was humiliated. In 1900 Walter Reed and 3 other scientists traveled to Cuba and proved Carlos Finlay correct that Yellow Fever came from mosquitoes through the sad death of Jesse Lazear after Lazear tested to see if the mosquito would transmit Yellow Fever to himself. Lazear never told the others that he was experimenting on his own but his notes gave evidence to what happened. Lazear is remembered for his brave aid in finding the cause of Yellow Fever for his death proved that Carlos Finlay's theory was correct the whole time.

Yellow fever in America

In 1699 there was a Yellow Fever outbreak in Philadelphia. The death toll rose high and almost everyone was infected. In 1799 the Philadelphia Lazaretto was built to treat infected travelers before they came into Philadelphia and to stop spread the disease. North America had its last Yellow Fever epidemic in 1905.


Works Cited

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"Jesse Lazear (1866-1900)." PBS. PBS, 29 Sept. 2006. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Mosquito-borne Diseases." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Oct. 2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2014.

Philadelphia Lazaretto. Digital image. Lazaretto Ballroom. Capozzoli Catering. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"Walter Reed (1851-1902)." PBS. PBS, 29 Sept. 2006. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

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"Yellow Fever." WHO. WHO. Web. 4 Dec. 2014.