Yellow fever

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Yellow fever (also called yellow jack) is a serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes. It is caused by an arbovirus in the Flavivirus genus and contracted through the saliva of an infected mosquito. The disease is prevalent in tropical and swampy climates where mosquitoes are known to breed. It gained its name due to the jaundice it often causes in its victims.



Yellow fever typically has an incubation period of 3 to 6 days. Once symptoms manifest, they do so in an acute phase, which usually lasts 3 to 4 days. Symptoms of the acute phase include fever, muscle pain, backaches, headaches, shivers, appetite loss, nausea, and a slow pulse. 85% of patients recover from this phase and have no further difficulty. For 15% of victims, however, the toxic phase sets in within 24 hours and includes a returning fever, jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, or stomach, and renal failure. 50% of patients who enter the toxic phase will die within 14 days. The other half will recover without any lasting organ damage. The mortality rate of the disease is estimated between 5.8% and 33%.

In the Canon

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "The Commodore"  follow.

In The Commodore, Stephen Maturin persuades Jack Aubrey not to allow the crew any shore leave in Freeport, Sierra Leone. as he is concerned that they will catch yellow fever from the miasmas from the swamps in the area. Ironically, it is Maturin himself who comes down with the fever following his own naturalizing excursions ashore.

See also


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