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Persons With Diseases of the Thymus Should Consider Alternatives to Receiving Yellow Fever Vaccine

 

CDC investigators have identified diseases of the thymus as a possible risk factor for severe complications following yellow fever vaccine.  In recent years, 23 individuals have been identified with yellow fever vaccine associated viscerotropic disease; 14 (61%) of these individuals died. 

In a recent report in the Lancet, Barwick, et al reported that 17% of individuals with yellow fever vaccine viscerotropic disease who had data available had an underlying history of thymus disease.  Since diseases of the thymus are rare, this is an unusually high percent and suggests the possibility that underlying thymus disease predisposes to severe complications from yellow fever vaccine. 

Therefore, CDC investigators recommend that persons with a history of thymus disease (Myasthenia gravis, thymoma, or surgical removal of the thymus) should consider alternatives to receiving yellow fever vaccine.  One such alternative for people traveling to endemic areas is careful prevention of mosquito bites.

Barwick R; Eidex for the Yellow Fever Vaccine Safety Working Group.  History of thymoma and yellow fever vaccination.  Lancet 2004; 364(9438):936 | Abstract

 

 
This page was last updated on February 12, 2014