The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons to get vaccinated before travelling to yellow fever affected areas. This follows a recent a rise in yellow fever cases in some parts of Africa and continued risk in some South and Central American countries.
Yellow fever is an acute illness caused by the yellow fever virus which is found in the tropics of South America and Africa. The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same vector that transmits the chikungunya, dengue and zika viruses. Yellow fever symptoms may be mild and go unnoticed, or may be severe and affect many organ systems. Symptomatic illness begins with fever, chills, headache, backache, general muscle pain, upset stomach, and vomiting. In severe cases where the disease progresses, weakness, jaundice, bleeding of the gums, hematemesis (vomiting of blood) and the presence of blood and protein in the urine may occur. In most patients these symptoms improve after 3 to 4 days.
Yellow fever vaccines are available and administered at the Comprehensive Health Center in Kingston on Fridays from 8:30am – 4pm. Vaccines are also available at the Montego Bay Type 5 Health Center in St. James every first Monday and Wednesday and every third Monday and Thursday during clinic hours.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye says vaccination should be done at least ten (10) days prior to travel. “We have systems in place to monitor travelers for yellow fever. Jamaica requires that travelers from countries endemic for yellow fever show proof of vaccination for entry into Jamaica. Yellow Fever is a Class 1 disease and needs to be notified on suspicion by a health care professional” he said.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information may call the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre. Persons may also visit our website at moh.gov.jm and like and follow us on www.facebook.com/themohgovjm; https://twitter.com/themohgovjm; https://instagram.com/themohgovjm