Yellow fever is an acute viral disease caused by infected mosquitoes found in tropical regions and is usually characterized by such systemic symptoms as hemorrhaging, vomiting and yellowing skin. The yellow fever is common in tropical regions, but it is important to state that it is not the same as malaria despite the fact that the two diseases have similar symptoms.
Because of these similarities, many people think that yellow fever and malaria are the same disease. This essay will highlight the causes, symptoms and effects of yellow fever while trying to explain why yellow fever is not the same as malaria.
The areas of origin of the yellow fever virus are regions of East and Central Africa. The disease was originally referred to as black vomit since the most widespread symptom was vomiting of blood.
The yellow fever disease was first reported in the 15th century, and that is when the world came to discover the fatal nature of it. The mosquito species that spread yellow fever are found in tropical climate and that is why many victims of this disease are from South America and Africa. Yellow fever is a viral disease and therefore its rate of infection is always very high compared to malaria.
The contagious nature of yellow fever made the authorities in affected areas put quarantine in place to stop further spread of the disease. The number of deaths associated with yellow fever has been brought under control by concerted efforts put in place by medical researchers who have developed various medications and vaccines. The yellow fever virus enters the host’s cells and replicates itself in form of a viral genome which later matures into an infectious virion that makes a person experience some initial symptoms.
The yellow fever virus is of the Flaviviridae family found mostly in female mosquitoes. These mosquito species act as a vector for the yellow fever virus which is transmitted to the victim through a byte. The incubation period of yellow fever is between three to six days.
The yellow fever disease has three stages which are different from each other because of the varying symptoms. The initial stage is known as the infection stage and is associated with symptoms such as vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, headache and sudden fever. These symptoms tend to disappear after three or four days.
The second stage is known as the remission stage, as all the symptoms disappear. Victims of yellow fever can recover during the second stage or the situation can get worse if the initial symptoms go beyond the first day. The third and final stage of yellow fever is referred to as the intoxication stage. At this stage, the disease starts affecting body organs. The heart, liver, and kidney are the most affected organs. Severe symptoms such as delirium, seizures and bleeding disorders are normally experienced at this stage.
There are many symptoms of the yellow fever and most of them lead to severe complications. It is advisable to seek medical attention during the infection stage to avoid severe complications experienced at the intoxication stage. Some of the severe symptoms are blood vomiting, kidney and heart failure, yellow skin, liver failure and coma. It is important to note that yellow fever is an acute disease which effects should not be underestimated.
The severe symptoms associated with yellow fever have adverse effects on the ill person’s body. To begin with, symptoms, such as fever and vomiting, lead to dehydration and the situation worsens when person starts vomiting blood. During the final stage of yellow fever, vital body organs such as heart, kidney and liver may fail to function which leads to death. The treatment of heart and kidney conditions is very expensive and can therefore make the victim struggle economically.
Yellow fever has caused economic hardship and misery to those victims who are unable to afford medication. Yellow fever is a widespread disease in the third world countries because the funds meant for development projects are diverted to yellow fever treatment and prevention. The fatality rate of yellow fever is very high compared to malaria because malaria is not contagious.
The severity of yellow fever has made governments spend a lot on preventing the spread of the disease. The fact that yellow fever is a contagious disease makes its treatment even more expensive. Yellow fever has many direct and indirect effects on the lives of victims and it is therefore very important to initiate appropriate actions aimed at eradicating this disease.
In order to effectively deal with yellow fever, proper diagnosis should be done using the right methods to avoid misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. Misdiagnosis of yellow fever is a fatal error because the disease is contagious and can end up taking more lives that could have been saved through proper diagnosis of a suspected case.
Regional outbreaks of yellow fever can occur in a result of mild symptoms associated with the disease and it is therefore vital to treat suspected cases immediately. It takes six to ten days to confirm if a person has been infected with yellow fever or not. It necessary for doctors to conduct a direct clinical diagnosis that involves isolating the virus that causes yellow fever.
Indirect methods of diagnosing yellow fever are not very reliable since the yellow fever virus cross-reacts with other viruses. In order to differentiate the yellow fever virus from other viruses, special diagnosis is normally carried out. The majority of yellow fever cases are diagnosed by conducting a postmortem on a victim’s body.
Since yellow fever was first discovered, medical experts have come up with various forms of treatment. Vaccination is one of the main measures developed in order to prevent the spread of the disease. It has become compulsory in some regions which is a clear indication that some authorities take the disease seriously. Conventional methods of eliminating mosquitoes are also applied in order to deal with the yellow fever vector.