One of the less discussed aspects of travel safety is public health. Air travel and cheap fares have meant that an outbreak of a disease in one part of the world can rapidly spread to others, such as the recent Olympics norovirus outbreaks. Now, US travelers heading to Brazil have a new concern — the CDC has just issued an alert for yellow fever in the country.
The CDC alert states that if you’re going to Brazil, you’d better get the yellow fever vaccine, and if you can’t, you probably should avoid certain areas of the country:
In early 2018, a case of yellow fever was reported in an unvaccinated Dutch traveler who had stayed near the São Paulo metropolitan region. Since then, there have been reports of other unvaccinated travelers to Brazil who visited areas with yellow fever outbreaks and contracted yellow fever; many of these travelers were infected on the island of Ilha Grande (Rio de Janieiro State). Several of these travelers died. None were from the United States.
Yellow fever has plagued Brazil throughout its entire history, with some of the earliest recorded outbreaks happening in that country. It’s named for the effects of the severe form of the disease, which causes liver damage and jaundice. Yellow fever has a low fatality rate, overall, but it’s not something you risk getting if you can avoid it.
The main problem for travelers is currently there’s a vaccine shortage. This is thanks in part to a resurgence in yellow fever across the world, which has depleted vaccine stocks and made it hard to find. Regular travelers should get the vaccines increasingly just to be safe. If you’ve got a trip to Brazil coming, you should see if a vaccine is available from your doctor. If not, you likely won’t be prevented from getting onto a plane, as the CDC hasn’t requested Americans limit non-essential travel. But if you’ve got health concerns, like liver problems or a compromised immune system, it may be better to delay your trip until you can get the vaccine.
(via the Centers For Disease Control)