What Shots do I Need for My Trip to the World Cup in Brazil?

Key Takeaways:
  • Travel Vaccines are an important aspect of planning a trip to Brazil.
  • Make sure routine immunizations are up to date.
  • Diseases are easily spread when in close quarters with others.

Brazil is world famous for soccer and the futbol aficionados who inhabit the country, many more of whom will be flocking there for the 2014 World Cup tournaments. In Brazil, soccer fanatics can enjoy some of the world’s largest stadiums, including the Nilson Nelson, soon to be replaced by the National Stadium of Brasília. Other Brazilian stadiums include Arena de Sao Paulo, currently under construction and slated to be completed for the 2014 World Cup; the Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho, located in Rio de Janeiro and better known as the Maracana; and the Arena Pantanal, which offers spectacular views of the lush city of Cuiaba. In all, Brazil currently has 12 soccer stadiums ready, or soon to be ready, to be filled with droves of soccer fans from all corners of the globe.

Brazil is the largest nation in South America with the world’s seventh largest economy and well-developed industries. Tourism also plays a significant role in the Brazilian economy, and World Cup Host cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia are well-accustomed to hosting millions of tourists each year. Although parts of Brazil are as cosmopolitan as any global metropolis, there are still may impoverished and under-developed areas, and the tropical climate means the country hosts many diseases. Moreover, the World Cup itself brings a host of health concerns, especially as so many people from all over the globe will be in very close quarters.

The Importance of Travel Vaccines

When traveling halfway around the globe for the World Cup, the last thing a soccer fan wants is for a debilitating illness to keep him or her away from cheering at the games. Luckily, travel immunizations can reduce or virtually eliminate the risk of contracting many diseases while in Brazil. Based on personal medical history, recommended or required vaccinations for visiting the World Cup in 2014 include:

  • Hepatitis A. This illness can be spread through contaminated food or water, so this vaccine may be particularly useful for travelers who want to enjoy some culinary adventures after the soccer matches.
  • Hepatitis B. This as a blood borne illness that can be spread through contaminated blood products, medical devices, and sexual intercourse.
  • Typhoid. This bacterial illness is spread through contaminated food and water. Oral and injectable vaccines are available.
  • Yellow fever. This severe viral illness can cause hemorrhage and death. The vaccine for this disease uses a live, attenuated virus and is highly effective.
  • Polio. This acute viral illness can cause severe disability including paralysis. The polio vaccine is routine in the US, but be sure you are up-to-date.
  • Rabies. This viral disease causes acute encephalitis and results in death. Rabies is primarily spread by bites from infected animals such as bats, cats, dogs and raccoons. In the United States, most dogs and cats are routinely vaccinated, and public health authorities vaccinate wild animals. However, vaccinations for stray or wild animals are not mandatory abroad, and a pre-exposure vaccine may be recommended based on your specific travel plans.
  • Measles. This respiratory disease is highly contagious and is common in countries outside of the US. Therefore, before participating in a large gathering of people from all over the globe, be sure you are up-to-date on this vaccine.
  • Meningitis. Viral and bacterial meningitis are easily spread when large groups of people are in close quarters, so a meningitis vaccine will provide extra protection in cramped World Cup stands.

A visit to a travel health specialist well in advance of your trip to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will fully prepare you for your travels. Remember, many vaccines require a series of shots for optimal immunity, so now is the time to schedule your travel health consultation. A travel health specialist will go over your immunization history and travel plans to determine which shots are needed for your upcoming trip. By preparing now, you won’t have to worry about missing out on a single soccer match!


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