yellow fever


Definition of yellow fever 

: an acute infectious disease that is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America, is marked by symptoms (such as fever, muscle pain, and headache) of sudden onset which typically resolve within a few days but are sometimes followed by more serious symptoms (such as jaundice, high fever, and hemorrhage), and is caused by a flavivirus (species Yellow fever virus of the genus Flavivirus) transmitted especially by the yellow-fever mosquito

Examples of yellow fever in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While doing research in Cuba, the link between yellow fever and mosquitoes was proven. Mike Scott,, "How Dr. Walter Reed became a New Orleans hero," 14 Apr. 2018 Of course, if yellow fever infected 5 million people, 333,000 people could die. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "When WhatsApp's Fake News Problem Threatens Public Health," 9 Mar. 2018 Because yellow fever is so contagious, the Redemptorists sent only volunteers to New Orleans to minister to those struck by the disease. Mike Scott,, "Francis Xavier Seelos, brother's keeper: 1 of 300," 30 Jan. 2018 But what if one of those pandemics — yellow fever, perhaps, or an emerging pathogen scientists don’t even know about yet — landed in the United States? Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "What if a pandemic hit the U.S. — are we ready?," 24 June 2018 In tropical regions, people instead contend with malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses. Heath Macmillan, Smithsonian, "Why Some Summers Are So Appealing For Mosquitoes," 22 June 2018 Nigeria, which has been battling outbreaks of yellow fever, monkey pox and Lassa virus, which can cause a lethal hemorrhagic fever resembling Ebola, is one of the countries identified by PreventEpidemics as not ready. Lena H. Sun,, "How prepared is the world for next epidemic? Tool shows most countries are not.," 22 June 2018 In the 1930s, the drive to eradicate yellow fever died when scientists realized monkeys carried the virus. New York Times, "Nearly Eradicated in Humans, the Guinea Worm Finds New Victims: Dogs," 18 June 2018 When her parents died of yellow fever, Wells, then a teenager, took custody of her six siblings and began working as a teacher to support them. Lolly Bowean,, "For family of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, hopes that renewed interest translates into a monument," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yellow fever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of yellow fever

1738, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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The first known use of yellow fever was in 1738

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More Definitions for yellow fever

yellow fever


English Language Learners Definition of yellow fever

medical : a serious disease that causes fever and often yellowing of the skin and that is passed from one person to another especially by the bite of mosquitoes

yellow fever


Kids Definition of yellow fever

: a disease carried by mosquitoes in parts of Africa and South America

yellow fever


Medical Definition of yellow fever 

: an infectious disease of sudden onset that is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America and includes acute symptoms (as fever, muscle pain, headache, and nausea) which typically resolve within a few days but are sometimes followed by more serious symptoms (as jaundice, abdominal pain, high fever, hemorrhage, and kidney impairment) which may lead to death

Note: Yellow fever is caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus (species Yellow fever virus) transmitted from monkey to human or human to human especially by the yellow-fever mosquito.

Few Americans realize that yellow fever was not always a disease of the faraway tropics. In 1878, an outbreak of yellow fever—the virus carried to the United States in mosquitoes from Africa—killed 20,000 people in the Mississippi Valley.— Mary Roach, The New York Times Book Review, 5 Nov. 2006 Although mass vaccination campaigns in Africa between the 1940s and 1960s led to the near disappearance of yellow fever, inadequately immunized populations and urbanization set the stage for the disease to reemerge. By the 1990s, there were an estimated 200 000 annual cases, with 30 000 deaths.— Clem Spalding, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 20 June 2007

called also yellow jack

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More from Merriam-Webster on yellow fever

Spanish Central: Translation of yellow fever

Nglish: Translation of yellow fever for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about yellow fever

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something that serves to warn or remind

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