This web page was produced as an assignment for an undergraduate course at Davidson College.

Yellow Fever


Pathogen Life Cycle

Innate Immune Response

Humoral Immune Response

Cellular Immune Response

Evasion of the Immune System

Treatment and Future Directions


I had a difficult time researching this particular pathogen in the context of its immunologic behavior and pathology. After poring over numerous books and few scholarly articles I discovered that the focus of literature on yellow fever focuses on its historical impact and, to the extent of current research, the effects of the many vaccines in conjunction with other treatments. My suspicions were confirmed when I read this passage:

"There is a paucity of information on the pathophysiology of yellow fever in the human host. The course of viremia and the immune response during the acute phase of natural yellow fever infection has never been documented. Furthermore, most of the pathologic descriptions of yellow fever in humans are based on studies of autopsies on patients who died; thus, they only represent changes observed during the terminal stage of the disease. Part of the reason for this lack of information is that yellow fever, at present, is largely a tropical-forest associated disease; human cases generally occur in remote areas with limited laboratory and diagnostic capabilities. Also, yellow fever is a disease of sudden onset and rapid progression, so most patients do not come for medical care until they are in the third stage (period of intoxication) of the illness. At this late stage, viremia is usually absent, HI antibodies are present, and liver-function studis are grossly abnormal."

Tesh RB, Guzman H, Travassos de Rosa APA, Bunnell JE, Zhang H, Xiao SY. 2001. Experimental Yellow Fever Virus in the Golden Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). I. Virologic, Biochemical, and Immunologic Studies. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 183: 1435.

The site at the due date is as it is now after a solid week (albeit abbreviated with time spent elsewhere) of research. I received an article today by email that I had hoped would provide more information, but unfortunately it only reported more of the same. I apologize that I did not bring this to your attention sooner and I realize that this was a semester project with more than enough time to adequately research. I am personally disappointed that this project has not come to total fruition, as it really does matter personally to me.