Ministry of Health (MOH) has released an advisory on travellers to be vaccinated against yellow fever at least ten days before travelling to yellow fever endemic countries.
The Ministry said that Brazil had recently reported an ongoing outbreak of the disease, with most cases occurring mainly in rural areas. Travellers to yellow fever endemic countries could be infected if they are not vaccinated prior to travelling.
Yellow fever is a mosquito borne acute viral haemorrhagic disease caused by the yellow fever virus. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, similar to dengue and Zika virus infection.
The majority of the infected persons are asymptomatic or have only mild illness. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting. In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days. A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days.
MOH stressed that vaccination is the most effective preventive measure against yellow fever. The vaccine confers lifelong protection against the disease ten days after vaccination and booster dose is not required.
Although there are as yet no reported cases of yellow fever in Singapore, it stated that any importation of the disease risks the disease taking root here due to the presence of the Aedes mosquito vector.
MOH said that a person may receive life-long protection against yellow fever through vaccination. Yellow fever vaccination is available at more than 100 GP clinics in Singapore, as well as travel health clinics at public and private hospitals.
MOH advised travellers, especially those who cannot be vaccinated on medical grounds, to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long, covered clothing, applying insect repellent, and sleeping under mosquito nets or in rooms with wire-mesh screens to keep out mosquitoes.
“They should seek medical attention promptly if they develop symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting,” it said.