Brazil Travel Vaccines & Advice
Brazil… Country of soccer and samba… But also country of unforgettable adventures… From the Amazon river basin and its vast tropical forests home to an incredibly rich biodiversity to mountains, red rock canyons, gigantic waterfalls, powdery white sand beaches and lively coral reefs, Brazil’s nature is stunning. The largest country in South America is also characterized by a unique and strong cultural mix. And an immense love for fiesta… Who doesn’t know about Rio and its Carnival? Every year the most extravagant street festival in the world takes place in Brazil, sadly contrasting with the hard daily life of favela dwellers…
HEALTH ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO Brazil
We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, travel health and safety risks in Brazil can change daily.
For the most current travel health recommendations for Brazil, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.
BRAZIL – RECOMMENDED VACCINES
|Hepatitis A||Recommended for all travelers.|
|Tetanus – Diphteria – Pertussis Vaccine|
Tetanus: In exceptional circumstances (eg, stay in a region where access to health care is limited), for a person aged 18 years or older, 1 dose of DT may be given if 5 years or more has elapsed since the last dose.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough): 1 dose is recommended for pregnant women, for every pregnancy, regardless of immunization history and the interval since the last dose (betwen week 26 and 32).
*Only applicable for Quebec.
|Measles – Rubella – Mumps||Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1970, if not previously given.|
|Flu – Influenza||Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing or by touching infected surfaces. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccine is recommended 14 days prior to departure.|
|Routine vaccines (dCaT, Polio, Meningococcal, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR & Varicella)||Recommended for all travelers|
|Typhoid Fever||Recommended for most travelers, especially those who are staying with friends or relatives; visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water; or prone to “adventurous eating”|
|Hepatitis B||Consider for most travelers; recommended for those who might be exposed to blood or other body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).|
|Rabies||For travelers at high risk of animal bites or being involved in activities with bats, dogs and other mammals. Clients who plan to visit remote areas may consider receiving this vaccine. Important to note the pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered in 2 doses with one week interval between doses. Post-exposure vaccination is always recommended, even for those previously vaccinated.|
|Chagas Disease||Presence. All travelers should protect themselves against triatomine bugs.|
|Schistosomiasis||Avoid swimming in fresh water.|
|Traveler’s Diarrhea (ETEC)||Talk to your health care professional about the risks and precautionary measures to take, as well as the Dukoral® vaccine. Important to note that the Dukoral vaccine is an oral vaccine given in 2 doses, recommended at least 2 weeks prior to departure.|
A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry in to Brazil.
Some travellers may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Please enquire with your health care professional regarding your specific details.
For further information, please consult with the World Health Organization (WHO) website:
|Malaria||Malaria is present in Brazil. The risk may be region specific. Prophylaxis measures to be discussed with the health care professional.|
|Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and/or Zika||There are many illnesses that are transmitted via mosquito bites and unfortunately we do not have vaccines to protect us against most of them. It is important to inquire with your healthcare professional regarding the specific risks and the different illnesses presently in circulation.|
RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS FOR TRAVEL TO BRAZIL
|Antibiotics for Traveler’s Diarrhea||Ciprofloxacin, Azithromycin or Suprax.|
|Antimalarials||Malarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine|
|Acetazolamide/Dexaméthasone||Recommended to prevent Acute mountain sickness (AMS).|
FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES in Brazil
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Brazil, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers’ diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
INSECTS AND ILLNESS IN BRAZIL
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Brazil. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In Brazil, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Zika virus is a risk in Brazil.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to Brazil. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to Brazil.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to Brazil for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to Brazil or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to Brazil or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more information, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
MALARIA IN BRAZIL
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in Brazil.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
ANIMALS AND ILLNESS IN BRAZIL
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS IN BRAZIL
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN BRAZIL
The healthcare system in Brazil remains precarious. Quality medical care can be found in major cities, such as Sao Paulo, Rio and Brasilia.
Brazil’s medical infrastructure is comprised of numerous hospital centres. More than half are private and most of them are located in developed urban centres. Some medical facilities in the state of Rio de Janeiro have closed or are providing limited services, due to lack of funding for their operations. Private hospitals remain operational.
Certain medications may not be available.
The Albert Einstein Hospital, in Sao Paulo, is greatly praised by tourists and expatriates. It offers a wide array of specialized services. The Samaritan Hospital and the FreireZaini MT are other good medical establishments, also in Sao Paulo. In Rio, many hospitals offer health care of good quality, like the Samaritano Hospital. This establishment has a good cardiac service, as well as other specialized departments.
In case of emergency, call 192. If you wish a private ambulance, you can contact the Sao Paulo Albert Einstein Hospital at 3747-1000 or 3747-1100, or the private ambulances of Copacabana in Rio at 2257-3848.
Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment. Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Don’t forget to bring your own medical kit.
DRINKING WATER IN BRAZIL
Unfiltered water and ice throughout the country are not safe to consume.
KEEP IN MIND…
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Emergency services IN BRAZIL
In case of emergency, dial:
- Police (military): 190
- Medical assistance: 192
- Firefighters: 193
- Rio de Janeiro: (21) 2332 2924 or 2334 6802
- São Paulo: (11) 3120 4447 or 3151 4167
- Salvador: (71) 3116-6817
- Recife: (81) 3322-4867