General vaccination advice for Brazil

For Australians planning to travel to Brazil in the near future, you should ensure you are up to date with the childhood vaccination program, which will protect you against Measels, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and chicken pox as well as other common preventable diseases such as Hepatitis A. For some the yearly flu shot may also be recommended, so speak to the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor to find out whether you need any booster shots.

Further information on the following diseases and risks specific to Brazil is provided below:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Malaria
  • Rabies

Is the Yellow Fever vaccine required for travel to Brazil?

There are parts of Brazil where Yellow Feveris present and there is a risk of contracting the disease when travelling through those areas. Generally vaccination against Yellow Fever is recommended for travellers over the age of 9 months to the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazones, Distrito Federal (including the capital city of Brasília), Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins and designated parts of other states.

If you are not travelling to one of these areas you may not be recommended Yellow Fever vaccine, however you should speak with the doctor about your entire itinerary before deciding whether to get vaccinated against Yellow Fever. The Australian Government does however require proof of yellow fever vaccination for all persons that have visited Brazil.

Hepatitis A and B

Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A can be passed on through contaminated food or water in Brazil, no matter where you plan to stay, so it is generally recommended that travellers get vaccinated before travelling to Brazil and take precautions around food safety and practice good hygiene while in Brazil. This includes ensuring food is cooked adequately, not eating raw unpeeled vegetables, not drinking water that has not been boiled or treated (including for cleaning teeth) and avoiding ice cubes.

Hepatitis A is not part of the childhood vaccination schedule in Australia, but if you are unsure of whether you are protected the doctor can ensure you are up to date. If you have not received a booster shot in the last few years at least it is highly recommended before travelling to Brazil. The booster also protects against Typhoid and lasts a number of years.

Hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B can be passed on through bodily fluid contact, so sexual contact, tattoos or piercings, medical procedures and any kind of exposure to needles pose a risk when travelling in Brazil. Vaccination is recommended for any travellers planning on any kind of procedure, or mixing with locals. If you are considering any such activity while in Brazil speak to the doctor about getting vaccinated. HIV/Aids is also present in Brazil and can be passed on through bodily fluid exchange.

Typhoid

Similar to Hepatitis A, Typhoid can be passed on through contaminated food or water and travellers to Brazil can be at risk of contracting Typhoid. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear, meaning it may be hard to pin point exactly how the disease was contracted.

Typhoid is found in roughly 50-70 Australians returning from overseas each year, and is easily preventable with the vaccination against Hepatitis A and Typhoid delivered in one. The vaccine is recommended for those who like to eat local produce and those staying in rural areas or visiting friends or relatives are especially.

Malaria risk in Brazil

Malaria is present in these states of Brazil: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins, and the western part of Maranhaõ and urbanized or city areas including Boa Vista, Macapa, Manaus, Maraba, Porto Velho, and Santarem. In general the risk of contracting malaria is considered higher during the wet season, May to August and November to January. You should speak to the doctor about whether you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors (especially overnight) and other activities you have planned to determine your risk of contracting malaria while away. There are preventative measures you can take against mosquito bites, wearing long loose clothing, using repellent, and mosquito nets, which may reduce the risk of contracting malaria while in Brazil. The doctor can discuss this further with you.

If you are recommended anti-malarial drugs you may need to start taking medication before you leave and/or take medication with you on your trip and when you return home.

Other mosquito borne illnesses:

Other mosquito borne illnesses such as schistosomiasis may be present in Brazil and swimming in fresh water is not recommended. If you or a travelling companion experiences fever or diarrhea during your trip it is advised to seek medical attention immediately. Hospitals in Brazil may require cash payment before administering treatment.

Rabies

Rabies is not especially prevalent in Brazil, however there are some factors that increase risk of exposure. Rabies can be passed on by bites from dogs; bats or other mammals so increased exposure to animals will mean increased risk.

If you are travelling to Brazil to work with animals in any capacity, or will be doing outdoor adventure activities such as bushwalking, caving, rock climbing etc in more remote areas you should speak to the doctor about getting vaccinated. Children may also be less likely to report bites or contact with animals.

When to speak to the doctor about upcoming travel to Brazil

Ideally you should speak to the doctor 4-6 weeks ahead of your travel date to ensure that you will have time for any necessary shots to be effectively administered. Leaving it too late may mean you can’t be adequately vaccinated before travelling.

Disclaimer

This page is designed to provide basic vaccination information for people entering Brazil as a tourist, medical tourist, backpacker or holidaymaker or foreign worker. Depending on your reasons for travelling to Brazil, and the length of time you intend to stay there, your individual needs may vary. This advice is general advice only and does not substitute medical advice given by the Travel Vaccination Clinic, so you should still book an appointment to discuss your situation and travel plans. You may use the advice on this page to start a conversation with the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor during your appointment.