Live Better

7 things to know about travelling to Brazil

Health matters when preparing for your trip.

1. More people = more chance of infection.

Brazil is roughly the size of Australia, but it contains a lot more people – 22.5 per square kilometre compared to Australia’s 2.7. Vaccination against flu is a good idea as well as being up to date for shots against measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox and whooping cough, which are also spread through coughs and sneezes.

2. Did someone say mosquitos?

The pesky insects thrive even in the more southerly areas of Brazil. As you move northward to the warmer cities, the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes increases, which means an increasing risk of dengue fever. Mid-winter is a good time to be in Brazil but the cooler season does not entirely eliminate the risk of mosquito bites. Dengue fever is a nasty disease for which there is no vaccine and the mosquito that carries the dengue virus breeds in urban environments. Personal mosquito protection such as long sleeves and the use of repellent spray is essential.

3. Malaria is largely confined to the Amazon basin.

The malaria mosquito mainly feeds at night so staying in air-conditioned or flyscreened accommodation and minimising time spent outdoors in the evening are important to reduce the risk when visiting malarious areas. The need for antimalarial medication must be discussed with a travel health professional.

4. It’s a designated Yellow Fever country.

Not every part of Brazil is affected by this serious mosquito-borne disease – it is absent in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the coastal areas as for north as Fortaleza. But regardless of which part of Brazil you are visiting, you will be required for visa purposes to show evidence of having been vaccinated against yellow fever. Furthermore, travellers will be subject to Australian quarantine regulations upon return, which require travellers to show evidence of vaccination if they have spent any of their six preceding nights in a Yellow Fever country. (New Zealand has no such a requirement.)

5. Some care should be taken when eating out.

Overall municipal functions are good, and in most hotels and resorts the water supply will be safe. Control over food preparation naturally varies and care is needed when eating out – for example, be wary of the crushed sugarcane drink garapa. Doctors will recommend vaccination against hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever, diseases which can be conveyed by contaminated food or water. It is always a good idea to also have a supply of medication to control nausea or diarrhoea.

6. Blood-borne and sexually transmitted viruses are always a risk.

The prevalence of HIV-AIDS in Brazil slightly higher than in Australasia. Unprotected sex is a definite health hazard in any country. Hepatitis B is another sexually transmitted disease, but this virus is also easily transmitted by blood contaminated needles. Vaccination provides good protection.

7. Be prepared – but don’t worry too much.

Travellers surfing the web will find long lists of exotic diseases occurring in Brazil, but they are all very unlikely to affect visitors. A look at the way most of them are transmitted suggests that the most important thing to pack should be insect repellent.

If you or friend and family are planning to visit Brazil2014, check for more information and book an appointment with TheTravel Doctor – TMVC. All Medibank and ahm members receive 10% discounts on vaccines and products.


Latest Articles


Thrush: signs to look out for

75% of women will experience thrush at least once in their.

Read more

How to stay smoke-free in summer

Dr Sarah White shares some tips for summer parties.

Read more

Do you know these beach safety essentials?

Bondi Rescue's Trent Maxwell shares his top tips.

Read more

Succeeding at work as an introvert

You don’t need to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.

Read more

Answers to the questions you can’t ask your boss

An HR expert takes on all your office faux-pas.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4