Yellow fever in Africa

Level 1 - Practise health precautions (more details)

Original publication date: October 2, 2019

Updated: August 25, 2022

Current Situation 

Yellow fever outbreaks are occurring in several countries within Africa:

  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria

Vaccination is recommended for anyone 9 months of age or older travelling to any area with a known or potential risk for yellow fever transmission. People who have never been vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid travel to countries experiencing outbreaks.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a vaccine-preventable disease. It is caused by a virus that is spread to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that spread yellow fever bite during the day and night, but typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.

Initial symptoms can take 3 to 6 days to appear, and may include:

• fever
• chills
• headache
• joint and muscle pain
• back pain
• nausea and vomiting
• fatigue

Most people recover after this stage. If you have had yellow fever once, you can’t get it again.

In some cases, the disease progresses to a severe stage, which can be fatal. Symptoms may include shock, hemorrhaging (bleeding), jaundice and organ failure.

There is no treatment for yellow fever. The care of an infected person is based on managing the symptoms. The most effective way to prevent yellow fever is to get vaccinated.


Before your trip

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.

Vaccination is recommended for anyone 9 months of age or older travelling to any area with a known or potential risk for yellow fever transmission.

• Get vaccinated at least 10 days before travelling. The vaccine takes 10 days to take effect.
• Contact a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre at least 6 weeks before you travel to make sure that they have yellow fever vaccine.
• When you get vaccinated, you will be provided with written proof of yellow fever vaccination in the form of an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. The certificate is not valid until 10 days after the vaccine is administered. You will need to travel with this certificate.
Verify the yellow fever vaccination entry requirements of your destination on the health tab of your destination's Travel Advice and Advisories page, under the 'Vaccines' section Travel Advise and Advisories.

WHO - Countries with risk of yellow fever transmission

During your trip

Prevent mosquito bites at all times. Be sure to:

• Use approved insect repellent and apply it properly
 Cover up by wearing light-coloured, loose clothing, long pants and tucked-in long-sleeved shirts with closed-toe shoes or boots and a hat.
 Sleep in indoor areas that are completely enclosed or well-screened.
 Use mosquito netting (bed net) when sleeping outdoors or staying in a building that is not completely enclosed and to cover playpens, cribs or strollers.

Learn more about mosquito bite prevention for travellers.

What to do if you become ill

If you develop symptoms of yellow fever when travelling or after you return:

• see a health care professional
• tell them where you have been travelling or living

Information for health care professionals

The Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) has developed a Statement for Travellers and Yellow Fever.

Registration of Canadians Abroad

Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

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