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South America

Travel Health Advice for South & Central America


Because Itineraries vary greatly on this large continent, vaccination and other health recommendations need to be tailored to each individual and their specific trip. For instance travel may include any of the following – the Amazon Jungle, the high altitude of the Andes, large coastal cities, Iguazu Falls, side trips to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, as well as numerous other possibilities.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to South America. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.

Most Common Health Issues
Traveller’s Diarrhoea & Respiratory Tract Infections
Observe food and water safety precautions, good hand hygiene and carry a kit for self-treatment.

Dengue Fever
Best avoided by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, particularly during the daytime in urban Brazil.

Zika Virus
Caused by the same mosquito as dengue fever. Because of the potential effect on the unborn foetus, pregnant women should avoid travel to South America, and all women of childbearing age and/or their partner should seek specific advice before travel to this country.

Malaria
In South America this mosquito borne parasite occurs almost exclusively deep in the Amazon rainforest. The need for preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors. Mosquito avoidance is critical.

Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements and Recommendations
This is a very serious but rare mosquito borne disease and occurs in many South American countries. Most travellers to South America require the vaccine- either for disease protection, prevention of international spread or for bureaucratic reasons. We provide an internationally recognised certificate as proof of vaccination. This should be presented when requested at border crossings and on return to Australia. An exemption certificate can be provided where there are medical contraindications to this vaccine.

Other vaccines
As well as being up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B, the following vaccines are often recommended – hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies and influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age and underlying medical conditions.

Altitude Sickness
See us for advice on acclimatisation, preventative medication and treatment if travelling to Cusco, La Paz, Quito or other destinations in the Andes
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