What’s not to love about Brazil? A culture so varied and diverse, a country who loves their sport, food and arts – that is, parties. No one throws a party quite like Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s famous Carnival has become one of the world’s largest festivals. The festival - known for it’s colourful, flamboyant costumes, pumping music and samba - goes on for 6 days and attracts approximately two million people on the streets each day – in 2017, Rio de Janeiro attracted more than 1.1 million tourists.2
Do not travel to Brazil due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
Of course, Brazil has a lot more to offer than the just some of world’s biggest parties. If you’re a nature lover and/or wildlife enthusiast, then you’re in luck. Brazil has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, cascading waterfalls, historic colonial towns, vast wetlands and the Amazon Rainforest to explore.3
In fact, Brazil is home to the world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, which boasts some of the country’s most iconic animal species, including toucans, blue hyacinth macaws, pink dolphins, anacondas, jaguars and thousands of other living species.3,4
A trip to Brazil means wildlife spotting along the Amazon river, hiking through the Chapada Diamantina National Park, partying with the locals and indulging in all the delicious foods.3 With this in mind, it is important to consider your travel health prior to your departure. Speak with your healthcare professional about which vaccinations and preventative medicines are recommended to protect you from disease and illness.
Before you go to Brazil
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all travellers are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, chicken pox and influenza. These vaccinations are given as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP). For a full list please refer to the NIP schedule, available here. In some cases, you may need a booster or re-vaccination against a disease to ensure you still have immunity.
Some diseases that are not common in Australia, are present in Brazil, such as typhoid and hepatitis A. Vaccinations against these diseases are recommended. In addition, depending on where you are going in Brazil and what activities you are undertaking, vaccinations against hepatitis B and yellow fever, and preventative medication for malaria may also be required. If you have travelled to Brazil, you may be asked to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate by border control when you come back into Australia.
There are no specific vaccination requirements for entry into Rio de Janeiro; however the vaccination recommendations for Brazil still apply.
- Up-to-date with routine vaccinations
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis B
Depending on your travel plans, your doctor may recommend that you get a booster or be revaccinated against a particular disease for your protection.
All travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to Brazil. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza. For a full list, refer to the National Immunisation Program – available here.
Australian residents will also need to get the yellow fever vaccination if they are planning to return to Australia. A valid proof of vaccination certificate is required upon entry back into the Australia.
There is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in Brazil, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. People are exposed to the virus generally through food or drink contaminated with faeces (poo), however, close personal contact (e.g.
Depending on where you are staying and what activities you have planned, the following vaccinations may be recommended for you by your doctor:
- Hepatitis B
- Malaria (preventive medicine)
If you are travelling with young children, they may need an accelerated schedule. Check with your healthcare professional on which vaccinations are required for your child prior to travelling.
It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least a month prior to your departure. They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans.
What your doctor will need to know:
• When you plan to travel (time of year/season)
• The duration of your trip
• The regions of Brazil you are visiting
• Your planned activities (i.e. if you are going trekking or visiting remote and/or wilderness areas)
• If you will be in contact with animals
• If you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
Your doctor may also conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations, or if your doctor believes you may be at an increased risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, then they may recommend you get a booster or be vaccinated/revaccinated against a particular disease.
Upon arriving back into Australia, you may be asked by border control to provide a valid vaccination certificate as proof that you have received the yellow fever vaccination.
If you do happen to return to Australia without a valid certificate, you will still be permitted entry. At immigration, a biosecurity officer from the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources will reinforce the serious nature of the disease. They will then provide you with a Yellow Fever Action Card, which provides instructions on what to do if you develop any symptoms of yellow fever in the 6-day period after you left Brazil. If you are travelling from Brazil to a country other than Australia, please note that the country you are travelling to may require a yellow fever vaccination certificate and if you do not have it, it may be that you are refused entry or require vaccination on entry.
Within the major cities of Brazil, the standard in healthcare facilities are comparable to Australia. However, outside the major cities, healthcare facilities can be limited and vary in quality, so it is important you a prepared before heading off on your trip8.
- Register your trip with Smart Traveller
- Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines
- Put together a travel kit with medication for pain, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, water purification tablets and compression stockings
- Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- Take out travel insurance - to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents
- The tap water is not safe to drink in Brazil.
Drink bottled or filtered water only and check the plastic seal on bottled water is intact (some stores sell boiled water in recycled bottles). Avoid ice in your drinks, and check that salad and fruit have been washed with filtered water prior to consumption.
- Traveller's diarrhoea is common in Brazil along with other waterborne diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A.
Important ways to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea include:
- ensure you wash your hands with soap and water regularly
- where possible, opt for fully cooked fresh food and only eat fruit that you peel yourself
- Avoid mosquito bites, as yellow fever, zika, and malaria are quite common in areas of Brazil. Dengue fever is also prevalent in Brazil. There is no vaccination for zika or dengue fever, but there is for yellow fever and preventative medication for malaria. You can further protect yourself with insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs, and staying in accommodation that has fly nets or screens provided.
- Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B, which are of significant risk in Brazil.
- Rabies is a deadly disease and is a concern in parts of Brazil. It is spread by the bite, lick or scratch of an infected animal, such as a dog or a monkey. Avoid close contact wild and domestic animals, this is especially important for children. Do not carry food around, or feed/play with animals. Vaccinations for rabies are available – your doctor can advise whether vaccinations are required for your trip.
Sources & Citations
- Worldometers, Brazil Population (live). Available at: www.worldometers.info/world-population/brazil-population [accessed 21 February 2020].
- The Rio Times. Brazil Reports Surge in 2017 Carnival Tourism Attendance. Available at: http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-business/brazil-registers-surge-in-2017-carnival-attendance/ [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Lonely planet. Brazil. Available at: www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil [accessed 21 February 2020].
- National Geographic. Brazil's Best Kept Secret: The Pantanal. Available at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/south-america/brazil/brazils-best-kept-secret-the-pantanal-wildlife-biodiversity-wetlands/ [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Brazil. Available at: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/brazil [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Department of Health. Yellow fever general fact sheet. Available at: www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-communic-factsheets-yellow.htm [accessed 25 February 2020].
- Embassy of Brazil in Canberra. Visa – General Information. Available at: http://camberra.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/visas_-_general_information.xml [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Smart Traveller. Brazil. Available at: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/americas/brazil [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Zika Virus - Prevention and Transmission. Available at: www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html [accessed 21 February 2020].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention of Yellow Fever. Available at: www.cdc.gov/yellowfever/prevention/index.html [accessed 21 February 2020].
SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0144(1) - Date of preparation February 2020Show All