Yellow Fever Virus


Yellow fever virus is a flavivirus that causes the disease yellow fever. The virus is found in tropical South America and subSaharan Africa. The disease varies from a febrile illness to a lethal haemorrhagic fever.

Keywords: yellow fever; arbovirus; flavivirus; haemorrhagic fever

Figure 1.

Organization of the flavivirus genome and expression of proteins (genes are not drawn to scale).

Figure 2.

Geographic areas in (a) Africa and (b) South America where yellow fever disease has been reported (shown in lilac). Not all areas have continual yellow fever disease.

Figure 3.

Transmission cycles of Yellow fever virus. The virus is transmitted between vertebrate hosts by various species of mosquitoes. The jungle (or sylvatic) cycle (a) involves monkeys and tree hole‐breeding mosquitoes; the urban cycle (b) involves humans and the Aedes aegypti mosquito.



Calisher CH, Karabatsos N, Dalrymple JM et al. (1989) Antigenic relationships among flaviviruses as determined by cross‐neutralization tests with polyclonal antisera. Journal of General Virology 70: 37–43.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000) Fatal yellow fever in a traveller returning from Venezuela, 1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 49: 303–305.

Chambers TJ, Hahn CS, Galler R and Rice CM (1990) Flavivirus genome organization, expression, and replication. Annual Reviews of Microbiology 44: 649–688.

Chang G‐JJ, Cropp BC, Kiney RM, Trent DW and Gubler DJ (1995) Nucleotide sequence variation of the envelope protein gene identifies two distinct genotypes of yellow fever virus. Journal of Virology 69: 5773–5780.

Hahn CS, Dalrymple JM, Strauss JH and Rice CM (1987) Comparison of the virulent Asibi strain of yellow fever virus with the 17D vaccine strain derived from it. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 84: 2019–2023.

Jennings AD, Gibson CA, Miller BR et al. (1994) Analysis of a yellow fever virus isolated from a fatal case of vaccine‐associated human encephalitis. Journal of Infectious Diseases 169: 513–519.

Kuno G, Chang G‐JJ, Tsuchiya KR, Karabatsos N and Cropp CB (1998) Phylogeny of the genus Flavivirus. Journal of Virology 72: 73–83.

Lepiniec L, Dalgarno L, Houng VTQ et al. (1994) Geographic distribution and evolution of yellow fever viruses based on direct sequencing of genomic cDNA fragments. Journal of General Virology 75: 417–423.

Rice CM, Lenches EM, Eddy SR et al. (1985) Nucleotide sequence of yellow fever virus: implications for flavivirus gene expression and evolution. Science 229: 726–733.

US Department of Health and Human Services (1999) Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 4th edn.Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.

Wang E, Ryman KD, Jennings AD et al. (1995) Comparison of the genomes of the wild‐type French viscerotropic strain of yellow fever virus with its vaccine derivative French neurotropic vaccine. Journal of General Virology 76: 2749–2755.

Wang E, Weaver SC, Shope RE et al. (1996) Genetic variation in yellow fever virus: Duplication in the 3′ noncoding region of strains from Africa. Virology 225: 274–281.

Further Reading

Augustin G (1909) History of Yellow Fever. New Orleans: Searcy and Pfaff.

Monath TP (ed.) (1988) Yellow fever. In: The Arboviruses: Ecology and Epidemiology, ,pp. 139–231. Boca Raton: CRC Press

Monath TP (1991) Yellow fever: Victor, Victoria? Conqueror, conquest? Epidemics and research in the last forty years and prospects for the future. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 45: 1–43.

Monath TP (1998) Yellow fever. In: Plotkin SA and Orenstein WA (eds) Vaccines, 3rd edn, ,pp. 815–879. Philadelphia: WB Saunders

Monath TP and Heinz FX (1996) Flaviviruses. In: Fields BN, Knipe DM and Howley PM (eds) Fields Virology, 3rd edn, ,pp. 961–1034. Philadelphia: Lippincott‐Raven

Rice CM (1996) Flaviviridae: the viruses and their replication. In: Fields BN, Knipe DM and Howley PM (eds) Fields Virology, 3rd edn, pp. 931–960. Philadelphia: Lippincott‐Raven

Tomari O (1999) Impact of yellow fever on the developing world. Advances in Virus Research 53: 5–34.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Barrett, Alan DT(Jul 2003) Yellow Fever Virus. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001094]