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Travelling to the Olympics?

May 13th, 2016


Those going to the Olympics  in Brazil are recommended to consult our clinic.

We need to ensure all your routine vaccines are up to date: diseases like Tetanus, Measles, and Chickenpox, still circulate in Brazil.

Influenza vaccine is strongly recommended as you will among crowds, and influenza spreads rapidly, and can be extremely debilitating. We know that on average 1% travellers get influenza. Yes, the vaccine is not 100% effective, but nor are seat belts in cars 100% effective at saving people in crashes, but seat belts and flu vaccines still help a lot of people.

Hepatitis A is prevalent in Brazil and South America, and is a must. Some travellers will need typhoid and rabies protection and even Dukoral for travellers diarrhoea prevention.

The situation about Yellow Fever vaccine is a little messy. Not everyone needs a  Yellow fever vaccine. Yellow Fever disease is not a problem if you just go to Rio, but vaccine is definitely needed if you are visiting tourist spots like the Amazon and Iguacu falls. The vaccine takes 10 days to take effect, so you need to have it early. You may be asked to show a yellow fever certificate on your return. Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons need to carry a medical exemption certificate – it has to be stamped by the official yellow fever  vaccination centre. Ideally you want somewhere that will keep your records a long time, so if you lose your certificate, you can just get a new one: The Yellow Fever vaccine now lasts for life for most persons.

Zika, Dengue and other mosquito diseases are a major concern. These diseases are carried by day biting mosquitoes.  The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) cautions pregnant women against attending the Olympic Games. There is a nice editorial from the Lancet that says

Unless new data emerge before August, we can say that compared with the risks usually associated with travel, such as gastrointestinal infections (on which we have written previously), traffic accidents, and falls, Zika virus represents a minimal threat to games visitors.(1)

Taking a good medical kit is a wise move: travellers diarrhoea is best treated early – you need to know what to take and when.

We look forward to helping you have a healthy trip.

Nice graphic on travel health going to Olympics from CDC 

1. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Zika virus at the games: is it safe? The Lancet Infectious Diseases. May 2016. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(16)30069-X.


















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