CDC Warns Brazil Travelers to Get Yellow Fever Vaccine
Plan ahead and get your vaccine, and explore this amazing country!
As Brazil battles the biggest yellow fever outbreak in modern times, researchers are warning of the risk of the virus spreading internationally. A global uptick in yellow fever cases is coinciding with a vaccine shortage. There are vaccines that protect against yellow fever, but the U.S.-made vaccine is not available. The federal government has imported a French-made vaccine but it can be hard to find, the CDC said. A number of unvaccinated international travelers have gotten yellow fever, and several have died (none from the United States).
Federal health officials strengthened their warnings about travel to Brazil, saying anyone planning to travel there needs to get a yellow fever vaccine. An outbreak of yellow fever among monkeys has worsened and spread, and 10 travelers have caught the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Four of them died, including two people from Chile, one from Switzerland and one from Germany.
“None of the 10 travelers had received yellow fever vaccination,” the CDC said. The CDC has been warning about yellow fever in Brazil for more than a year but said the outbreak is even worse than before, affecting areas that usually don’t see yellow fever. At least three of the infected travelers appear to have caught the virus on Ilha Grande, a popular island tourist destination right off Rio de Janeiro.
Yellow fever is a relative of the dengue and Zika viruses, but is far deadlier. Most people don’t even know they are infected, but 15 percent can develop serious illness and as many as 60 percent of those who do get severely ill will die. It’s carried by mosquitoes — both the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread dengue and Zika — and also by jungle-dwelling Haemagogus mosquitoes. CDC has a tool for finding vaccines on its yellow fever website.
- There is a large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in multiple states of Brazil. Since early 2018, a number of unvaccinated travelers to Brazil contracted yellow fever; many of these travelers were infected on the island of Ilha Grande (Rio de Janeiro State). Several have died.
- Travelers to Brazil should protect themselves from yellow fever by getting yellow fever vaccine at least 10 days before travel, and preventing mosquito bites.
- In addition to areas in Brazil where yellow fever vaccination has been recommended since before the recent outbreaks, the vaccine is now also recommended for people who are traveling to or living in: All of Espirito Santo State, São Paulo State, Rio de Janeiro State, Paraná State, Santa Catarina State, and Rio Grande do Sul State, as well as a number of cities in Bahia State.
- People who have never been vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid traveling to areas of Brazil where yellow fever vaccination is recommended.
- Travelers going to areas with ongoing outbreaks may consider getting a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine if it has been 10 or more years since they were vaccinated.
- Yellow fever vaccine is available at a limited number of clinics in the United States, so travelers should plan ahead to get the vaccine.
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