FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1 WHAT IS YELLOW FEVER

It is a viral disease which is spread by mosquito’s that bite during the day. It thus differs from malaria, which is a parasitic disease spread by mosquito’s that bite at night. It is dangerous because there is currently no treatment to cure the disease.

2WHO NEEDS A YELLOW FEVER INJECTION?

The World Health Organisation, via their International Health Regulations, determines which countries require a visitor to provide proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. These countries are only found in Africa and South America and are usually in the tropical regions of these continents. However, during the pre-travel consultation, the risk for Yellow Fever infection will be determined as well as any contra-indications, before the vaccine is administered.

3 IS THE YELLOW FEVER INJECTION PAINFUL?

No, the injection is done on the upper arm with a thin needle. It is similar to a flu shot.

4HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE AFTER THE YELLOW FEVER INJECTION BEFORE I AM PROTECTED?

We usually tell the person that they can enter the Yellow Fever area after 10 days.

5HOW LONG DOES THE PROTECTION AFTER A YELLOW FEVER INJECTION LAST?

Currently the WHO determines that protection lasts for 10 years, but studies have shown that it lasts longer. There is a chance that the WHO can prolong this, but at this stage the official protection is 10 years.

6 WHAT IS THE CONTRA-INDICATIONS FOR A YELLOW FEVER INJECTION?

Basically anyone who is immune-compromised should not receive the injection. This includes persons with HIV/AIDS with a CD4 count less than 200, a person with cancer on chemotherapy, persons on high dosages of cortisone, people with a timus tumour, children under 6 months, pregnant women, people older than 65 years and people who are allergic to chicken or eggs.

7WHAT HAPPENS IF THE YELLOW FEVER INJECTION IS CONTRA-INDICATED AND THE PERSON NEED TO TRAVEL TO A YELLOW FEVER AREA?

If the risk for Yellow Fever is very high, then such a person will be advised to rather cancel or postpone the trip until the reason for the contra-indication has cleared. If it is a low risk area, then measures to prevent mosquito bites will be explained and a waiver letter can be issued, if the person understands the risk.

8WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO SEE THE DOCTOR EVERY SIX MONTHS WHEN ON CHRONIC TREATMENT AND TO FILL THE REPEAT SCRIPT?

Firstly, it is required by Law, because prescriptions can only be issued for six months at a time. Therefore, a pharmacist will be contravening the law, if he issues your chronic medication without a doctor’s script.

Secondly, because your body is a dynamic system and you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness – you have to be monitored for changes in your condition and changes in your treatment made accordingly. Especially if you have one of the following: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia and asthma. Monitoring for target organ damage and treating and reversing it, can prevent mortality and reduce morbidity.

A doctor who really cares about your health will examine you during each of the 6 monthly examinations and will not just issue a script telephonically.

9WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO SEE THE DOCTOR EVERY SIX MONTHS WHEN ON CHRONIC TREATMENT

Firstly, it is required by Law, because prescriptions can only be issued for six months at a time.

Secondly, because your body is a dynamic system and you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness – you have to be monitored for changes in your condition and changes in your treatment made accordingly

10I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE, WHAT IS IT?

Integrative medicine is a new branch in medicine where different treatments are used together in a Holistic, more natural treatment plan to restore healthy balance to the body or create a balanced environment in which the body can heal itself.