Public health authorities advise travellers to get vaccinated against yellow fever

Public health authorities have advised the public that those travelling to countries where yellow fever is endemic should take precautions to avoid the disease

Public health authorities advise that all precautions should be taken by those travelling to countries where yellow fever is endemic to avoid contracting the disease.

“People travelling to areas where yellow fever is endemic are to get vaccinated at least 10 days before travel,” the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate said in a statement, adding that a single dose is considered sufficient to provide life-long immunity to yellow fever.

Travellers, it said, are advised to contact the national immunisation services at Floriana Health Centre on 25680222-3/21243314.

In its statement, the Directorate highlighted the particular importance of vaccination for people travelling to Angola and Congo, where an outbreak of the disease seemingly took place recently.

The yellow fever vaccine can be given to anyone of nine months of age or over.

The Directorate added that people travelling to countries where yellow fever is widespread should also take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

“The precautions include wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, using insect repellent containing DEET, and using bed nets. Staying in accommodation with screens and air-conditioned rooms will also reduce the risk of mosquitoes,” it said.

According to the Directorate, the risk of yellow fever affecting Malta is low as the main vector mosquito which transmits the virus, Aedes aegypti, is not found in Malta. The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Yellow fever is reportedly asymptomatic or gives very mild symptoms, including fever, general body aches, nausea and vomiting. The severe form, the Directorate said, is characterised by high fever, jaundice, and bleeding and results in death in 10% of cases.

For more information contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 23266000.

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