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Brazil World Cup healthy travel

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

7th March 2014 – If you're lucky enough to be travelling to Brazil for the World Cup now is the time to seek travel health advice.

With less than 100 days to go until kick off, Public Health England (PHE) and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) have published a factsheet for UK travellers going to Brazil with information on how to stay healthy.

Plan ahead - now

Dr Dipti Patel, joint director at NaTHNaC says in a prepared statement: "We would encourage fans to seek travel health advice early, ideally 4 to 6 weeks before travel, to ensure they have ample time to organise any preventive measures like vaccinations or antimalarial tablets that they may need. It’s also very important that people take out comprehensive health insurance."

Even if you are travelling last minute, it’s never too late to get advice; some vaccines can be given at short notice and antimalarial tablets, if needed, can be started just before travel, including on the day you leave.

Brazil is a huge country, with a variable climate, so your health risks will depend on where you are going and what you are doing.

Yellow Fever - vaccination

There is a risk of yellow fever in many parts of Brazil and the state of Amazonas is recognised as a yellow fever zone. Manaus, where England plays its first match, is the capital of the state of Amazonas.

Yellow fever is a viral disease. It's transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. These mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours.

You can try to prevent bites by applying insect repellent, ideally containing 30-50% DEET, to exposed areas of skin and covering up as much as possible with loose-fitting, lightweight clothes. You can apply an insecticide, such as permethrin, to clothing, which will kill mosquitoes on contact but permethrin should not be used directly on the skin.

Yellow fever symptoms vary from a flu-like illness that gets better on its own over several days to a severe illness with organ failure and death.

Yellow fever vaccine should be given to those travelling to the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Goias, Maranhaõ, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins,and specific areas in the states of Bahia, Paraná, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo. Vaccination is also recommended for travel to Iguaçu Falls.

Yellow fever (YF) vaccine is not recommended if you're only travelling to coastal cities, including the cities of Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sǎo Paulo.

Vaccination can only be given in approved yellow fever vaccination centres (YFVC). If you're lucky your local GP may be a YFVC, but if not, you can find one on the NaTHNaC website.

YF vaccine must be given 10 days or more before your trip to be effective and to be officially accepted by the country to which you are travelling. Travellers who are leaving sooner than the 10 day interval should discuss with their YFVC whether to get YF vaccine. An official record of your vaccination may be requested by immigration officials.

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