Travelling To Brazil This Year? Allianz Global Assistance Provides Important Travel Advice to Sporting Spectators
Brazil is an exciting country to visit and an increasingly popular travel destination for Australians. In less than 75 days, half a million tourists from around the world will descend on the capital, Rio to attend one of the world’s largest sporting events.
Despite Brazil being the fifth largest country in the world, it presents some unique health risks to travellers, including food and water safety, climate conditions and altitude sickness.
Dr. Geoff Ramin, Allianz Global Assistance Chief Medical Officer said, “Before heading to Brazil, travellers should be up-to-date with routine vaccinations for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis as these diseases are all found in Brazil.
“Travellers should also be mindful that while there are private hospitals in the major cities across Brazil, facilities can be limited and the cost for private treatments is expensive. Do your due diligence and research your destination, consider seeing a doctor trained in travel health, discuss any other vaccinations that may be required and purchase comprehensive travel insurance before you set off to ensure you are covered for overseas medical costs should anything happen.”
According to AGA claims data, in the past five years Australians have claimed over half a million dollars in health related claims from Brazil.
Dr Ramin’s top tips to avoid falling sick while travelling Brazil include:
- Avoid tap water and ice cubes and stick to drinking bottled water – Brazil is still developing and many areas lack proper sanitation.
- Use insect repellent at all times – Brazil is experiencing ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and malaria is present in some parts of the country. Wearing long, loose-fitting clothing and using a mosquito net and sprays at night will help provide protection.
- Carry an antidiarrheal drug – Diarrhea is the most common travel-related ailment and while most cases are mild, it is recommended that travellers carry an antidiarrheal drug for short-term remedy.
- Keep hydrated – Brazil is a tropical country with a varying climate and it’s easy to become dehydrated. In addition to bottled water, coconut water is a good source of hydration and is available at beaches as well as cities across Brazil.
- Practice safe sex – And remember that diseases such as hepatitis and HIV can be transmitted not only sexually but through activities such as ear piercing, tattoos and acupuncture.
Other vaccines that travellers should discuss with their health care professional include:
- Hepatitis A – Spread through contaminated food or water, hepatitis A is a common travel illness.
- Hepatitis B – This vaccine is recommended for those who may be exposed to bodily fluids while in Brazil, including: sexual contact, tattoos or even following a medical procedure.
- Yellow Fever – Due to the tropical climate of Brazil, occasional cases of yellow fever are reported across the county. It is recommended that travellers heading to the affected regions or other countries in South America receive a yellow fever vaccine, as it may be required for entry into Brazil.
- Typhoid – Typhoid is one of the most common infections among travellers. This bacterial illness spreads through contaminated food and water. Oral and injectable variants of the vaccine are available.
- Rabies – Spread through bites by infected animals, this vaccine may be recommended based on your itinerary – especially if coming into contact with animals.
- Malaria – Malaria is transmitted by a mosquito that mostly bites at night. AGA recommends travellers consult with a travel health expert before deciding whether to take anti-malarial drugs as there are many options available dependent on your individual circumstances
- Polio – Polio exists in many regions and while the vaccine is routine, it is important to be up-to-date before travelling to affected areas.