Resource Information on Immunizations
São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The information of this document has been revised by our Lay Missioners in Brazil, who helped me in getting all the necessary information about the immunizations choices as you prepare to travel to Brazil. It is also updated with the current information on the CDC website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/brazil.
Here we emphasize that each participant needs to make this choice under the advisement of his or her own physician. We simply provide this sheet as a resource to you and your doctor as you make your decision.
Where We’ll Be in Brazil.
In order to make the best decision about immunizations, you’ll need to know where in Brazil you plan to go. You’ll be in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
You are going to have a wonderful experience! Please do not let rumors of extremely rare diseases haunt you. Healthy American travelers like you may pick-up what is called “travelers’ diarrhea”, uncomfortable yes, but it is not dangerous. There is no special immunization against this hazard. Bring along Imodium and Pepto Bismol, drink bottled water (will be provided), rest, and let your own immune system do the rest. Prevention is your best weapon. No immunizations are 100% effective. Just follow the guidelines regarding what you put into your mouth, wash hands frequently with soap (bring a liquid antibacterial soap) and water, and bring bug repellent with DEET.
Mosquito-borne illnesses such as Dengue and Zika are present in São Paulo, and the only way to prevent the illness is to prevent bug bites. Be prepared to take appropriate measures. Due to the current rise in Zika cases, and the possible link to microcephalia, we do not recommend that pregnant women travel to Brazil at this time, and that any visitors considering planning to have children discuss the risks with their doctor.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has some immunization recommendations for your specific Brazil experience:
Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications (as appropriate for ages)
Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need. See your doctor at least 4 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect. All the following recommendations are to help keep you healthy.
- Routine. RECOMMENDED if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, polio-virus vaccine, etc.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). RECOMMENDED. Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
- Hepatitis B. This is RECOMMENDED only as prevention in the case you need a medical visit/treatment in case of illness or accident, otherwise you will not be exposed to blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
- Typhoid vaccine. RECOMMENDED. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors. Our lay missioners will take all preventative measures to avoid any infection.
- Yellow Fever. RECOMMENDED. There has been an identified yellow fever outbreak in the state of São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, and yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travelers. People who have been vaccinated less than 10 years are not required to be vaccinated. A booster dose may be given to travelers who received their yellow fever vaccine 10 years ago or more. The vaccine is not recommended for anyone with a compromised immune system, an egg allergy, pregnant or nursing mothers, and those over 60 should consult their doctor.
- Rabies. NOT RECOMMENDED for this type of trip. The risk is low.
Each person needs to become informed and make a choice about which immunizations to take. How does one make these choices? Participants approach the issue from a range of philosophies. Some will want to take every possible immunization. Others will prefer the minimum. It’s up to you. I hope this info helps you.
What You Need To Bring With You
- Insect repellent containing DEET.
- Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays.
- Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s) or letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you. Always carry medications in their original containers, in your carry-on luggage.
- Be sure to bring along over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication (e.g., bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide) to self-treat moderate diarrhea.
- Bring hand sanitizer in case we are in a place without soap or water.
January 4, 2017