Yellow fever is a viral disease that’s transmitted through infected mosquitos. The name “yellow fever” comes from the jaundice that some patients exhibit when they come down with the illness. Sadly, nearly half of all severely infected patients will die from yellow fever without any treatment. The severity of the illness and the ease of transmission have made yellow fever one of the deadliest diseases in history.
But even though India has very conducive conditions for the transmission of yellow fever, the illness is nowhere to be found. These conditions include a large population of Aedes aegypti, the mosquitos responsible for transmitting the disease. So what lengths has India gone to protect their people from the maws of the deadly viral disease?
One way is through vaccination. India has a strict vaccination program for yellow fever. This means that without the vaccine, you can’t enter the country under certain circumstances. You may be detained in isolation for up to 6 days. The screening of international passengers has been effective. It has stopped yellow fever from entering the country. This allows for more control and avoids public health risks.
Other than that, the fact that most South Asian countries like India have yet to see the threat of yellow fever remains a bit of a mystery for global health professionals. One theory is simple: yellow fever isn’t in India because it’s never been introduced there. But the chances of that being the case border on the impossible.
Living in India with dengue fever might provide some protection against yellow fever. The body’s antibodies developed against dengue may offer immunity against yellow fever since both diseases are transmitted by the same mosquito. This is supported by some historical reports and studies, but it’s not definitive since dengue still exists in parts of Africa and South America where yellow fever is also present.
There’s also considerable evidence pointing to the possibility that some people have genetic immunity to yellow fever. But with no clear real-world examples that the lack of yellow fever in India is due to genetics, more research is still needed. No matter the reason, it seems that even though India is one of the most perfect environments for it, no yellow fever transmission has been documented. India remains vigilant in its public health approach to ensure that it stays that way.
Whether it is required vaccines for your trip or routine immunizations like influenza, Passport Health is here to help. Call 937-306-7541 or book online to schedule your appointment today.
Written for Passport Health by CJ Darnieder. CJ is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. He is an avid lover of classical music and stand-up comedy and loves to write both in his spare time.