With the Rio Olympic Games fast approaching, now is the time to prepare for travel to South America.
This year's Olympics will be held in the coast city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and runs from 5 August - 21 August 2016. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid disease including, but not limited to, diseases spread by:
Yellow fever virus is a virus that is fatal up to 50% of the time in travellers who are unvaccinated. You will need to be vaccinated at least 10 days before arriving in South America. Only accredited centres can offer the vaccine. - Zika virus is a generally mild disease in itself but can cause birth defects in pregnant women or birth defects in infected women who fall pregnant within a certain time frame after the infection. (Also visit the WHO website for more up-to-date information.)
Travellers' diarrhoea most commonly occurs within the first 14 days of a holiday. Though the illness is often self-limiting, it can ruin a holiday. Good water and food practices can prevent this. Dukoral (tm) can also help prevent this. - Hepatitis A and typhoid fever are two other disease spread by poor sanitation and poor food practices. We are lucky in Australia that our food regulation and hygiene are such that these disease are rare occurrences. Overseas, though, hygiene practices vary and when we travel, we eat out a lot more than normal so the risks are naturally higher if someone else is preparing the food. This is particularly the case when eating at a buffet or in a street food setting.
Water-based infections are also a consideration (eg. in the sea or on coral, oyster shells) if you plan on swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving whilst on holiday. Infections from sea or ocean water can be severe and spread rapidly, causing lots of damage quickly so be prepared and seek medical attention.
Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination and condom use - Zika virus (see above) - HIV, Hepatitis C, chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be prevented with use of condoms.
Tetanus - influenza - Travel pack might include - Betadine, bandages, bandaids, paracetamol and anti-diarrhoea medication. - dental check prior to travel if relevant.
So if you plan on traveling to Rio and beyond, then visit a Myhealth medical centre for advice on preparation to travel. (See the website for info on which centres offer yellow fever vaccines and travel vaccines)