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Yellow fever and the International certificate of vaccination
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Are you about to travel to Africa or South America? Some countries require a yellow fever International certificate of vaccination for entry. This viral disease is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), yellow fevers affects an estimated 200,000 people and causes 30,000 deaths annually. Find out if you need to add yellow fever vaccination to your travel planning checklist.

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What is yellow fewer?

Yellow fever is a virus which, like malaria, is transmitted by infected mosquito bites. Aedes and Haemogogus mosquitos transmit the disease.

First symptoms of yellow fever appear after an incubation period of about one week. Symptoms include fever, muscle ache, shivers, headache… Because the disease may easily be mistaken for another in its early stages, diagnosis can be tricky. In some severe cases, yellow fever can progress to a second phase which can be fatal: vomiting, jaundice, hemorrhagic symptoms and kidney disorders.

Where is yellow fever a threat?

Though Africa is undeniably the most affected continent, the disease also occurs in South America. There is a total of 44 countries in which there is a more or less high risk of yellow fever transmission.

  • Endemic areas in Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sundan, Tchad, Togo, Uganda.
  • Endemic areas in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Yellow fever vaccination

Vaccination, which sometimes is compulsory, is the most effective way to prevent yellow fever. Nevertheless, for full protection abroad, selecting a travel insurance solution is highly recommended.

Yellow fever vaccine characteristics and use

Number of injections



At least 10 days before departure


In an authorized yellow fever vaccination center


Every 10 years


- children under 9 months

- pregnant woman

- people with severe immunodeficiency,

- people with severe allergies to egg protein.

The International certificate of vaccination

To be able to travel to certain African countries, all travelers must hold an International certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis, which is valid 10 years. You will receive this certificate once you have undertaken yellow fever vaccination.

Currently, 20 countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travelers: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, French Guyana, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone Togo.

In many other countries, travelers coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission must also have an International vaccination certificate.

To find out more about yellow fever vaccination:

What does the International certificate of vaccination look like? Check out the document provided by the WHO.

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