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What are the symptoms of yellow fever?

Page last updated 30 April 2020

The first symptoms of yellow fever appear 3-6 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms are known as stage one of the disease, and may include:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • flushed face
  • constipation
  • stomach pains
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • restlessness and irritability.

These symptoms last for approximately 3-4 days and then settle over another couple of days. In mild cases, the infection ends here. In more severe cases (approx. 15-25%), this is followed by serious symptoms know as stage two (toxic stage). About 50% of the people that reach this stage will die. Symptoms in stage two include:

  • high fever
  • pain in the upper part of the abdomen with vomiting of black ‘coffee grounds’ /bleeding
  • jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • kidney failure
  • liver failure
  • death.

Yellow fever is a serious disease - urgent medical advice is needed if you have travelled to an area where yellow fever is present and you develop similar symptoms. 


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Sources & Citations

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow fever – Symptoms, diagnosis & treatment. Available at: (Accessed 20 March 2020).

5. Victoria State Government – Better Health Channel. Travel health – yellow fever immunisation Available at: (Accessed 20 March 2020).

SPANZ.STAMA.18.05.0185(1)a - Date of preparation April 2020