Public health officials monitor for yellow fever

Cayman’s Public Health Department is advising people traveling to countries were yellow fever is endemic to take precautions and get vaccinated.

The department is monitoring outbreaks of yellow fever internationally and regionally in light of recent reports from the World Health Organization of a large outbreak of the virus in Angola and in Asia.

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said in a press release that while there are no suspected cases of yellow fever in the Cayman Islands, the territory does have the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can spread of the virus.

“Because we have the Aedes aegypti mosquito … we do have potential for transmission if a returning resident or a visitor has the yellow fever virus,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said.

“Yellow fever is a viral disease similar to dengue fever,” he said. “The virus is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The ‘yellow’ in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients in severe cases.”

He advised people traveling to countries where yellow fever is endemic to get vaccinated. The vaccine provides effective immunity after 10 days of being administered.

“We remain in constant contact with our partners in prevention and control, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit, and the Department of Environmental Health for their appropriate action,” Dr. Williams-Rodriguez said. “Any samples from suspected cases will be sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmation, as they have the capacity for testing.”