yellow fever

yellow fever

Acute infectious tropical disease, sometimes occurring in temperate zones. Abrupt onset of headache, backache, fever, nausea, and vomiting is followed by either recovery with immunity or by higher fever, slow pulse, and vomiting of blood. Patients may die in a week. Jaundice is common (hence the name). One of the world's great plagues for 300 years, it is caused by a virus transmitted by several species of mosquitoes. Carlos Finlay suggested and Walter Reed proved this means of spread, leading to near elimination of the disease through mosquito control (see William Gorgas). Treatment consists of supportive care, particularly fever reduction. Control of mosquitoes near cities and live-virus vaccines—developed by Max Theiler (1899–1972), who won a 1951 Nobel Prize for his work—have made yellow fever completely preventable.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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