Yellow fever alert

January 10, 2008 | By More

UPDATE: Ten facts about yellow fever in Brazil

Yellow fever has hit the headlines once again. The Brazilian authorities have re-issued a health alert for visitors coming to Brazil and intending to visit certain regions of the country where yellow fever is endemic. The recent deaths of a handful of people in Goiania and Brasilia have provoked a sudden rush to the health centres.

The basic facts about yellow fever in Brazil remain the same:

1. It is strongly recommended that people visiting the states of Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins be vaccinated against yellow fever.

2. Additional areas of potential risk have been identified in the western areas of the states of Santa Catarina, Paraná (including the area around Iguassu Falls), Piauí, São Paulo and on the southern part of the state of Bahia. No cases of yellow fever have been recorded on these areas but visitors are advised to get the vaccine.

3. Any other part of the country not included above is risk-free. The popular tourist destinations where there is no risk of catching yellow fever and, therefore, no need to get the vaccine, include:

State of ALAGOAS: Maceió, Maragogi, the Rota Ecológica and the rest of the state.
State of BAHÍA: Salvador, Morro de São Paulo, Praia do Forte. For the southern coast of the state (Porto Seguro, Arraial d’Ajuda, Trancoso, Caraíva) the vaccine is recommended.
State of CEARÁ: Fortaleza, Canoa Quebrada, Jericoacoara and the rest of the state.
State of PARAÍBA: João Pessoa and the rest of the state.
State of PARANÁ: Ilha do Mel and the rest of the coast of the state.
State of PERNAMBUCO: Recife, Olinda, Porto de Galinhas, Fernando de Noronha and the rest of the state.
State of RÍO DE JANEIRO: Río de Janeiro, Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios, Arraial do Cabo, Cabo Frío and the rest of the coast of the state.
State of SANTA CATARINA: Bombinhas, Camboriu, Florianópolis and the rest of the coast of the state.
State of SÃO PAULO: Santos, Guarujá, Ilhabela, Ubatuba and the rest of the coast of the state.
State of SERGIPE: Aracaju and the rest of the state.
State of RIO GRANDE DO NORTE: Natal, Pipa and the rest of the state.

The latest information can be found on the Brazilian Health Minister website: Ministério da Saúde. As usual in Brazil, the information contained on the Ministry’s homepage is only in Portuguese.

However, a reader of this blog has reported the existence of a website of the same Ministry, but under a different subdomain (and with no link from the Ministry’s homepage) with information in English on yellow fever: Febre amarela (I certainly can’t see how a visitor to the Ministry’s webpage would find their way to the page in English). The information contained here is of a general nature and does not relate specifically to the current crisis, as does the Portuguese-only information of the homepage. So, those wanting to read more about yellow fever in English can do so at the link provided; those wanting to find out information in English on the current crisis, will be left waiting.

Yellow fever is a serious disease. If in doubt, get the vaccine. You should do so at least 10 days prior to travel.

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Category: health

Comments (23)

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  1. Sandra Alonso says:

    “The latest information can be found on the Brazilian Health Minister website: Ministério da Saúde. As usual in Brazil, only in Portuguese.”

    IT IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!

    All information is also available IN ENGLISH on the mentioned website.

    Is it only a mistaken information from your site?

    I really hope so!

  2. Tony says:

    Sandra, I would have expected a claim so vociferously voiced would have come along with some evidence to support it – not nice to point the finger if you can’t justify why you do so.

    Would you be so kind as to point to me where the English version of the site I have linked here is? To be able to concede I am mistaken and correct the information I have given here I would need some evidence that backed up your claim.

    I haven’t been able to find any links to an English version of the site I have linked here. I have spent a few minutes searching for “inglês” and “English”. Nothing. Niente. I thought it could be because I’m using Firefox (Brazilian goverment webpages are notoriously unfriendly to Firefox users) but I’ve had a look with Explorer to no avail.

  3. Sandra Alonso says:

    Dear Tony,

    As you have required, here is the link to find the information in English from Ministerio da Saude.

    As you can see, the link exists to support my “vociferous voyce”. And yes, I can back up my claim.

    I hope that you can now correct the given information.

    My best regards.

  4. Tony says:

    Thanks Sandra, I’ve added the link you left.

  5. Sandra Alonso says:

    My dear Tony,

    The link you have given corresponds to the following address

    As you open this page you will find a yellow button where is writen “Febre Amarela”.

    Click on this button. The following page is the Health Department page only about Yellow Fever.

    At this page, on the left side, you will find green buttons. The last one leads to the English version.

    I could find it very easily following your own directions. So can you, I’m sure.

    My best regards


  6. Tony says:

    Obrigado, Sandra. I rest my case.

  7. Mama Traveler says:

    Anyone have more specific info on this as of today, Feb 21? We had a family reunion planned for a coastal spot just south of Trancoso with family coming from different international locations, but with the more recent cdc outbreak news, I am reluctantly opting not to join, because I have 3-month old who cannot be vaccinated for yellow fever. Is there a way to find out more specifics about the exact location of recent cases, in case it could actually be safe for us to join our family?

  8. Tony says:

    So far there have only been cases in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Goiás and Distrito Federal, all of them miles away from Trancoso.

    Trancoso is located in what the Brazilian Ministry of Health considers to be a “potential risk area”. Whatever that means, I’m not sure, but my guess is that they consider those areas as places where the disease could hypothetically arrive if things got out of control.

    So far, there have been no cases whatsoever registered on the region or neighbouring areas.

    As there is a baby involved, and I’m no health professional, I’m reluctanct to give any further advice. I hope the information I have given you on the cases recorded to date is helpful enough.

  9. Paul Luongo says:

    My wife and I are planning to travel to Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and Rio in April. I know that these areas are not considered high risk locations for yellow fever, but my wife will be 4 months pregnant. We’ve never been to Brazil and are trying to make an informed decision. I would greatly appreciate some feedback.

  10. Tony says:

    Paul, you have the most up-to-date info on the entry: Ten facts about yellow fever in Brazil.

    There is no yellow fever risk in the cities you mentioned. No cases have been recorded until today and the authorities still consider them risk-free areas.

  11. balint01 says:

    Hi, do you have any information on the current state of the “rumoured” epidemic siutation in and around Rio de Janeiro? Just like Paul was mentioning, I also plan to travel to Rio in early May with my girlfriend and would like to have a clear picture about yellow fever and dengue fever situation around the city and the state of Rio de Janeiro.
    Thanks in advance,

  12. Tony says:

    Hi Balint. There have been no cases of yellow fever in Rio. Regarding dengue fever, I have an entry on the topic: Dengue fever epidemic in Rio. The situation is very serious and I would consider postponing the trip or at least avoiding the capital.

  13. D McIntyre says:

    We are traveling to Brazil in Feb of 09 on Carnival cruise Splendor ship. The Chicago Brazilian consulate is requiring my wife and I to get yellow fever shots or a doctors waiver to be granted a visa although our ship is only stopping in 4 ports that are not in the infected areas. The Brazilian Consolates don’t require this and our doctor won’t sign one in the form they require. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  14. Tony says:

    Hello. I can only describe the consulate’s request as preposterous. At no time during the worse of the yellow fever epidemic last year were American citizens required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the country. That continues to be the case. Perhaps you could redirect the folk at the consulate to their own government’s website: vaccinations. Tell them also to check with Anvisa, the Brazilian’s government body responsible for health issues.

  15. D McIntyre says:

    Thank you for the reply unfortunately
    I have tried all these and the Chicago consulate is completely unsympathetic and won’t change their mind.
    Also according to the CDC website on yellow fever people over the age of 60 ( which both my wife and I are) have bad reactions in 1 out of every 40,000 to 50,000 doses and of those over 50% die so you can see our reluctance to take unneeded shots.
    We tried talking to our travel agent, the expediting service, Carnival cruises besides the consulate and they all say each consulate can make their own rules. We think it is preposterous that any country would allow their consul to have this kind of autonomy. I guess we are stuck. We do thank you for your advice.

  16. Tony says:

    How frustrating! I’m determined to help you with this, I’ve suffered at the hands of a Brazilian consulate (in Madrid) to the point where we nearly took them to court because of their blatant incompetence.

    I have found a text on the Internet that should settle the discussion. It is from ANVISA, the Brazilian goverment’s FDA. It is an official source. Actually, it’s the ultimate responsible for deciding what is required from visitors to Brazil. The link is here: Certificado Internacional de Vacinação. I don’t know how good your Portuguese is, I’m selecting and translating the most important paragraph (the third one):

    O Certificado Internacional de Vacinação e Profilaxia (CIVP), válido contra a Febre Amarela passa a ser exigido, conforme Decreto nº 87, de 15 de abril de 1991, somente para entrada em território nacional de viajantes internacionais procedentes de áreas de ocorrência de Febre Amarela que apresente risco para disseminação internacional. No momento não há nenhuma área apresentando risco de disseminação internacional da doença e, à medida que for estabelecido tal risco, será amplamente divulgado.

    Basically, the certificate was only asked to passengers coming from countries where there was yellow fever, countries that were a potential threat to other countries. But, and this is fascinating, Anvisa states that right now there are no countries posing a threat of spreading yellow fever. From that I infer Anvisa is currently asking the certificate from nobody at all. They even state that if the risk should reappear, an alert would be issued.

    Don’t know whether this will take you too far with the consulate, but if they don’t accept it you can definitely interpret it as pure bad faith on their side. Good luck!

  17. D McIntyre says:

    Thank you so much . We sent the consulate a copy of that website and the CDC site, also a note from the county health department saying for health reasons we should not have the shots. Also we had to enclose a note from ourselves saying we would not hold the consulate or Brazilian government responsible if we caught yellow fever. So far it appears that this will suffice but as yet no visa . So hopefully it is cleared up.Thank you again for the advice

  18. Tony says:

    Hope you’ll get your visa soon. A sad story with a happy end – hopefully. Hope nobody else has to go through this. I’m glad I could help.

  19. D McIntyre says:

    Just a note to thank you and update.
    On the 23rd of Dec. after following your advice and sending the consulate a letter. But jumping thru all of their hoops also we received our visas without having to get the yellow fever shots. While this leaves me with some ill feelings about the Brazilian consulate it does accomplish our goal.
    So looking forward to a great vacation Thanks again.

    D. McIntyre

  20. Tony says:

    Excellent news, a nice Christmas present! But again, consulates seems to exist to make your life more difficult. Considering all you wanted to do is tourism in Brazil, it baffles me the consulate should be so obnoxious about the whole thing. Have a great vacation!