To assess those published cases of yellow fever (YF) vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease that meet the Brighton Collaboration criteria and to assess the safety of YF vaccine with respect to viscerotropic disease.
Ten electronic databases were searched with no restriction of date or language and reference lists of retrieved articles.
All abstracts and titles were independently read by two reviewers and data independently entered by two reviewers.
All serious adverse events that met the Brighton Classification criteria were associated with first YF vaccinations. Sixty-two published cases (35 died) met the Brighton Collaboration viscerotropic criteria, with 32 from the US, six from Brazil, five from Peru, three from Spain, two from the People’s Republic of China, one each from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, and the UK, and four with no country stated. Two cases met both the viscerotropic and YF vaccine-associated neurologic disease criteria. Seventy cases proposed by authors as viscerotropic disease did not meet any Brighton Collaboration viscerotropic level of diagnostic certainty or any YF vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease causality criteria (37 died).
Viscerotropic disease is rare in the published literature and in pharmacovigilance databases. All published cases were from developing countries. Because the symptoms are usually very severe and life threatening, it is unlikely that cases would not come to medical attention (but might not be published). Because viscerotropic disease has a highly predictable pathologic course, it is likely that viscerotropic disease post-YF vaccine occurs in low-income countries with the same incidence as in developing countries. YF vaccine is a very safe vaccine that likely confers lifelong immunity.