British holidaymakers warned as 'fatal' disease is spotted across the globe - including a popular tourist hotspot

British holidaymakers warned as 'fatal' disease is spotted across the globe - including a popular tourist hotspot

Britons going abroad have been urged to check travel advice

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 10/04/2024

- 16:33

Yellow fever can be prevented by vaccination

Britons have been warned of a potential danger in popular holiday hotspots including the Caribbean.

Travel Health Pro, set up by the Department of Health to protect the health of British travellers, has warned Britons that yellow fever cases are being reported in several parts of the world.

Britons going on holiday should heed Government advice and take note of the areas affected.

Travel Health Pro said: "Yellow fever (YF) is a virus spread by mosquitoes in parts of Africa, Central and South America, and in Trinidad in the Caribbean. YF infection can cause a serious (haemorrhagic) illness that can be fatal for humans. YF can be prevented by vaccination."


A stunning tourist destination in the Caribbean has been affected by Yellow Fever


Trinidad is a beautiful paradise lined with relaxing beaches and rainforest waterfalls - and popular with tourists. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy stunning scenery at the ASA Wright Nature Centre, and hiking fans can enjoy the marvels of Aripo Cave and Rio Seco Waterfall.

As well as Trinidad, Britons visiting Africa should be aware that probable and confirmed YF cases were reported in 13 countries from the beginning of 2023 until February 2024.

These countries are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

The experts at Travel Health Pro warned: "WHO advises that in some African countries, there may be under-reporting of YF due to surveillance and data collection issues. Mosquitoes (Aedes spp.) that spread YF are common in many urban areas in Africa.

"This significantly increases the risk of YF spreading, especially in heavily populated areas like cities, which could lead to rapid YF outbreaks."

Britons holidaying in South America have also been told that seven confirmed YF cases, including four fatal cases, were found between January 1 and March 19, 2024.

Cases have been reported in Colombia (three fatal cases), Guyana (two cases) and Peru (two cases, one fatal).

Brazil, another popular tourist destination, has reported confirmed YF in monkeys, which suggests that YF is circulating in the country.

"Risk of YF outbreaks in South America is high," the experts warned. "While YF vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions to prevent YF disease, the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, has led to a reduction of YF vaccine cover in the local population."


Beach in Colombia

Three fatal cases of Yellow Fever have been reported in Colombia


What Britons need to do

British holidaymakers have been advised to check their risk of YF, vaccine recommendations and any certificate requirements at their destination using the TravelHealthPro Country Information pages.

WHO recommends that all travellers aged nine months or over receive the YF vaccine if they are visiting areas with a risk of the disease. This is unless the vaccine is not advised because of a medical reason. Travellers should also follow mosquito bite advice.

Britons should check if they are visiting a country that requires an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) for YF from travellers arriving there.

But even if a country does not have a requirement for a YF ICVP, there could still be a risk of yellow fever in the country.

Britons can seek guidance regarding YF at a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre (YFVC), which they can locate on the online YFVC Search Locator.

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