Who Needs a Travel Vaccination? If You’re Visiting Brazil, You Do! Stop by a Travel Clinic to Learn
Different countries present different health risks that travelers need to prepare for. People going to Southeast Asia, for example, are at risk for diseases and illnesses that one won’t find in say, North Africa. But even within one country you’ll find that health risks can vary from region to region, and even from city to city. If you’re planning a trip to Brazil, the kind of Brazil travel vaccination you’ll need will depend on what cities you plan on spending most of your time in. For clarity, make an appointment with a doctor at a travel clinic that specializes in travel medicine.
No matter where you’re traveling, everyone should have their essential vaccinations up to date. These are the standard immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and the routine ones most of us get as children (MMR, DPT, polio, etc.). If you haven’t been vaccinated for any of these in a while, your travel doctor may recommend you get your second round before traveling to Brazil.
The other two vaccinations that the CDC recommends travelers to Brazil get are yellow fever and malaria. But whether you need them depends entirely on what cities you plan on visiting.
For yellow fever, the only areas where a vaccination is not recommended are a few coastal cities: San Paulo, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador, and, everyone’s favorite, Rio de Janeiro. Rio is by far Brazil’s biggest tourist attraction, with almost three million tourists a year. So chances are if you’re reading this you’re probably planning on spending most of your time in this beach friendly city. If this is true, then you do NOT have to worry about getting yellow fever!
You also don’t have to worry about malaria! Like yellow fever, malaria is transmitted through mosquitos, which tend to hang out in the more tropical parts of the country. Thus if you stick to those coastal cities you may only have to get the standard vaccinations listed above.
However, if you’re looking forward to venturing into the more tropical parts of Brazil, then you need to visit a travel clinic for a complete evaluation for what immunizations you will need. To protect yourself from yellow fever, your doctor will recommend you getting the yellow fever vaccination. For malaria, there are antimalarial drugs such as atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine that are suited for Brazil. The CDC strongly warns travelers against the chloroquine malaria drug, stating that it is not effective in protecting one against malaria in Brazil. Be sure to ask your doctor what kind of malaria medication he or she plans on prescribing. You may not be able to pronounce it, but you can sure run it through the CDC’s website to learn more about its side effects and efficiency in Brazil.