It Kills 60 Percent


( – Yellow fever, a mosquito-borne illness with a deadly track record, is resurging. Alarmingly, approximately 60% of people with severe cases succumb to this disease. The U.S. now faces the risk of not only yellow fever but also other tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue, and leishmaniasis.

A report from the New York Post points out that although an effective vaccine for yellow fever exists, its availability is limited. Additionally, some individuals might experience adverse reactions to the vaccine.

“Currently, the U.S. population is nearly entirely unvaccinated against yellow fever, and there are no vaccine doses in the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile,” highlighted the authors of an article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

They further expressed concern, stating, “During a sizable epidemic, yellow fever could tear quickly through unimmunized populations across the American South.” The authors drew attention to past outbreaks during the 1800s, when the disease, also called “yellow jack,” devastated several southern U.S. cities. They voiced skepticism regarding the government’s capacity to promptly obtain and distribute vaccines, especially in the face of public demand.

Factors such as climate change and economic challenges might exacerbate the spread of yellow fever and other similar diseases. Cities like Galveston, Corpus Christi, Houston, Mobile, New Orleans, Miami, and Tampa could be particularly vulnerable. Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine emphasized the dangers of stagnant water in discarded tires in low-income regions, which offers an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes thrive in warm, rainy environments but suffer during droughts. Dawn Wesson, a mosquito-borne disease specialist at Tulane University School of Public Health, explained, “Climate change that results in severe drought can have a negative effect on the mosquito population, but hot weather and rain are perfect for mosquitoes.”

For those at risk of yellow fever exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises vaccination for individuals over nine months of age. The Cleveland Clinic has documented that yellow fever claims roughly 30,000 lives annually, predominantly in Africa. The symptoms range from mild flu-like signs to severe complications such as jaundice, internal bleeding, and organ failure.

To defend against yellow fever, it’s advised to wear protective attire, use insect repellent, and be vaccinated when traveling to high-risk zones. Wesson further suggests draining water reservoirs like plant saucers to inhibit mosquito breeding.

The report’s authors firmly stated, “We believe yellow fever should be prioritized as part of our national pandemic-preparedness efforts, given that the conditions are now in place for yellow jack to return and sicken many people in southern U.S. cities.”