Yellow Fever


Yellow fever is a hemorrhagic fever caused by a virus spread by certain mosquitoes. The disease is common in tropical areas of Africa and South America.

Yellow fever is a rapidly occurring viral illness of short duration with symptoms that may be mild to severe.

Yellow fever is reportable to the Iowa Department of Public Health by Iowa Administrative Code 641 Chapter 1.


Symptoms usually occur within 3-6 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Yellow fever symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • General muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of more severe illness include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Albuminuria (protein in the urine)
  • Anuria (absence of urine)


Yellow fever is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Risk Factors

Traveling to an area in which the yellow fever virus is known to be puts you at risk of the disease. These areas include tropical areas of South America and Africa.


Recommendations to reduce the spread of yellow fever include:

  • Avoiding exposure to infected mosquitoes is the best means of protection from the virus causing yellow fever. Mosquitoes in Iowa do not carry yellow fever but they carry other viruses.
  • Personal protection is the best way to prevent exposure to any virus spread by mosquitoes. Review the DEET Fact Sheet and follow the recommendations outlined to reduce your risk of being bitten.
  • Anyone traveling to South America or Africa should be vaccinated before traveling to those areas.


There are no specific drugs available for the treatment of yellow fever. Always consult your health care provider if you have questions about your health or before starting any treatment.


No cases of yellow fever were reported in Iowa in 2021.

For more detailed information and statistics on all notifiable diseases, please see our current annual report located in the reports section of the CADE homepage.

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