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 The year before, in 1927, Stokes had contracted yellow fever while helping isolate the virus from the blood of a Ghanaian man named Asibi. Joshua Sokol, The Atlantic, "The Worst Animal in the World," 20 Aug. 2020 Roberts also mentioned that America's first chief justice, John Jay, adjourned the Supreme Court -- then in Philadelphia -- in 1793 because of the yellow fever pandemic that killed 5,000 of the city's 50,000 residents. Fox News, "Chief Justice Roberts uses year-end report to applaud work of courts during pandemic," 1 Jan. 2021 Many already demand polio or yellow fever vaccination. Washington Post, "Altruism, cash, coercion and the queen: How the U.K. could convince millions to get coronavirus vaccines," 16 Dec. 2020 In the 1960s, amid yellow fever epidemics, the World Health Organization introduced an international travel document, known informally as the yellow card. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Illinois has its first COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s everything you need to know," 14 Dec. 2020 Four years later in the midst of a yellow fever outbreak, Rex rolled a 27-float parade but Comus stayed off the streets and instead donated money to relief efforts. Arthur Hardy,, "Arthur Hardy: 2021 isn't the only Mardi Gras without parades. Here's what happened in years past.," 20 Nov. 2020 Meningococcal vaccines and non-U.S.-licensed yellow fever vaccines have been made available through this process, and with good results. David Oshinsky, STAT, "Make pre-approval Covid-19 vaccines available through expanded access, not an EUA," 9 Nov. 2020 Among the prominent physicians from years past is Dr. Josiah Nott, who lost four children and a brother-in-law to one of Mobile’s yellow fever epidemics. Michelle Matthews |, al, "Mobile’s Magnolia Cemetery is a ‘magical landscape’," 27 Oct. 2020 Since 1851, the property was used once as a wartime hospital and twice as a hospital during the yellow fever epidemics. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "13 Most Haunted Hotels in America You Can Actually Stay In," 8 Sep. 2020

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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The first known use of yellow fever was in 1738

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Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Yellow fever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on yellow fever

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

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