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World cup and travel health - Are you prepared?

Posted in General Health 30 Apr, 2014

With one of the worlds greatest sporting events only a few weeks away, this blog will look at the possible health risks associated with travelling to Brazil and the precautions you can take to effectively manage your health.

What are the health risks in Brazil?

With Brazil being such a big country, different health risks preside in different areas of the country. For example, Manaus, the capital state of Amazonas, is recognised as having a yellow fever zone. Malaria is also present in some regions, with some regions also containing multi-drug resistant areas.

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted via a bite from infected Aedes mosquitos. The symptoms can range from being flu-like to life threatening and cause organ failure which can lead to death. This is why it is paramount to get your yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling to the following areas of Brazil:

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.

More information on the health risks associated with travelling to Brazil can be found on the NaTHNaC website.

What can I do to protect my health?

Being prepared in advanced for your trip is an important step in ensuring your safety whilst travelling abroad. Some medications and vaccines in particular must be taken before you leave for your travels. Dr Dipti Patel, joint director at NaTHNaC, commissioned by PHE, stated:

“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.”

Furthermore, Dr Jane Jones, a travel health expert at PHE, has also stated:

“A number of tropical diseases like malaria, dengue and yellow fever occur in parts of Brazil, and there are also a range of other potential health hazards. Our factsheet aims to raise awareness of these risks so that people attending the World Cup can protect their health while enjoying their trip.”

The full Public Health England fact sheet can be read here.

By taking a few simple steps such as taking the right vaccines before travelling and understanding the climate and risks of the areas you will be staying, can help ensure you enjoy a wonderful world cup this summer.

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