Yellow Fever Virus: Knowledge Gaps Impeding the Fight Against an Old Foe

Florian Douam, Alexander Ploss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Yellow fever (YF) was one of the most dangerous infectious diseases of the 18th and 19th centuries, resulting in mass casualties in Africa and the Americas. The etiologic agent is yellow fever virus (YFV), and its live-attenuated form, YFV-17D, remains one of the most potent vaccines ever developed. During the first half of the 20th century, vaccination combined with mosquito control eradicated YFV transmission in urban areas. However, the recent 2016–2018 outbreaks in areas with historically low or no YFV activity have raised serious concerns for an estimated 400–500 million unvaccinated people who now live in at-risk areas. Once a forgotten disease, we highlight here that YF still represents a very real threat to human health and economies. As many gaps remain in our understanding of how YFV interacts with the human host and causes disease, there is an urgent need to address these knowledge gaps and propel YFV research forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-928
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


  • flaviviruses
  • viral pathogenesis
  • yellow fever
  • yellow fever vaccine
  • yellow fever virus


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