Carnival in Brazil – Travel advice, January 2018
International carnival will take place from 9 to 14 February 2018 in Brazil as well as in various European, Caribbean, central, north and south American countries, including Aruba, Dominica, Brazil, Canada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Italy, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA celebrating the beginning of Lent. It is one of the largest international mass gatherings and will attract a significant number of travelers. Careful pre-travel preparation helps travelers enjoy a safe and healthy carnival trip.
People traveling to Brazil and to other areas of South America should be aware of diseases endemic in the region including:
- Food and waterborne diseases (e.g. hepatitis A, typhoid fever)
- Vector borne diseases (e.g. Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Zika virus, malaria)
- Blood borne diseases (e.g. Hepatitis B, HIV)
- Diseases transmitted through contact with fresh water (e.g. schistosomiasis)
- Other diseases (e.g. rabies)
Travelers should schedule an appointment with a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks or as soon as possible before departure and discuss with the doctor or nurse vaccination, medicines and general preventive measures recommended for their destination.
In particular, travelers to Brazil are advised to:
Be up to date with their vaccinations in accordance with national and WHO recommendations including:
- Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) (vaccination with 2 doses of MMR is recommended unless there is natural immunity)
- Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) (If there is no history of vaccination in the last 10 years)
- A booster dose of poliomyelitis
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
In addition the following vaccines are recommended:
- Typhoid vaccine
- Yellow fever vaccine
- Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travelers visiting yellow fever risk areas (see map), from nine months of age and without medical contraindication considering the period, destination, duration of travel and likelihood of being exposed to mosquitoes as well as individual risk factors for complications following yellow fever vaccination.
Malaria is a serious, potentially fatal, illness transmitted by mosquito bites. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for many regions in Central and South America and some parts of the Caribbean.
Zika virus infection
Zika outbreak is still a risk in many parts of the world including Brazil. Pregnant women are NOT advised to travel to areas with risk of Zika due to serious birth defects caused by Zika virus. Since Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual contact as well as mosquito bites, partners of pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should take prevention steps during and after travel.
Travel health insurance
A comprehensive medical insurance (including cover for medical evacuation costs) before departure is recommended. Pre-existing conditions and medical treatment should be reported. You can contact the Hellenic Embassy in Brazil at http://www.emb-grecia.org.br/.
Carrying a good supply of any regular medicines is recommended, as they may not be readily available at destination.
General preventive measures
- Mosquito bite protection (use of insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, sleeping or resting in well screened and air-conditioned rooms or using mosquito nets during the night and day)
- Preventive measures for accidents
- Food and water hygiene
- Preventive measures for Travelers’ Diarrhea
- Preventive measures for blood borne and sexually transmitted diseases
- Animal bite prevention
- Sun protection
Safety and security
During an international mass gathering such as the carnival, high levels of crime and violence can be experienced, particularly in the bigger cities. Travelers are advised to:
- Be aware about their surroundings and alert to the risk of overcrowding and opportunistic crime.
- Avoid going out alone and be vigilant at all times.
- Avoid secluded areas and poorly lit places.
- Avoid wearing expensive clothes and jewelry.
- Carry only a photocopy of their passport.
- Avoid carrying a large amount of money with them.
- Be careful when consuming alcoholic drinks.
- Try to get immediate police help and medical assistance in case of an attack, or sexual assault.
- Respect local laws and customs.
- If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor.
- Travelers returning from yellow fever endemic areas may be requested to show evidence of yellow fever vaccination (or a waiver) when arriving at countries or territories infested with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Vaccination requirements and recommendations for international travelers are available on World Health Organization’s website http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf