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NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 09-ID-09

Clinical Description

A mosquito-borne viral illness characterized by acute onset and constitutional symptoms followed by a brief remission and a recurrence of fever, hepatitis, albuminuria, and symptoms and, in some instances, renal failure, shock, and generalized hemorrhages

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

  • Fourfold or greater rise in yellow fever antibody titer in a patient who has no history of recent yellow fever vaccination and cross-reactions to other flaviviruses have been excluded, OR
  • Demonstration of yellow fever virus, antigen, or genome in tissue, blood, or other body fluid

Case Classification


A clinically compatible case with supportive serology (stable elevated antibody titer to yellow fever virus [e.g., greater than or equal to 32 by complement fixation, greater than or equal to 256 by immunofluorescence assay, greater than or equal to 320 by hemagglutination inhibition, greater than or equal to 160 by neutralization, or a positive serologic result by immunoglobulin M-capture enzyme immunoassay]. Cross-reactive serologic reactions to other flaviviruses must be excluded, and the patient must not have a history of yellow fever vaccination.)


A clinically compatible case that is laboratory confirmed


The 1997 case definition appearing on this page was originally published in the 1990 MMWR and re-published in the 2009 CSTE position statement 09-ID-09.1,2 Thus, the 1990, 1997, and 2010 versions of the case definition are identical.


  1. CDC. (1990). Case Definitions for Public Health Surveillance. MMWR, 39(RR-13), 1-43.
  2. CDC. (1997). Case Definitions for Infectious Conditions Under Public Health Surveillance. MMWR, 46(RR-10), 1-55.

Related Case Definition(s)