The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Yellow fever in Brazil

Updated May 17, 2017

Updated: May 10, 2017

Travel Health Notice

Yellow fever is a serious and occasionally fatal disease. It is caused by a virus which is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. The most effective way to prevent yellow fever is to be vaccinated.   

An outbreak of yellow fever continues to evolve in parts of Brazil and in areas not normally deemed to be at risk of yellow fever transmission.

On April 4, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated the list of additional areas where yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travellers. This includes the entire states of Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo—with the exception of the City of São Paulo—and areas in Bahia State (see European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control map).


Yellow fever vaccination:

Vaccination is recommended for anyone older than nine months travelling to areas in Brazil with known risk or to new areas considered at risk for yellow fever transmission. 

Consider not travelling to areas with risk of yellow fever transmission if you cannot get vaccinated against yellow fever.

There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. Contact a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre six weeks or more before you travel, and make sure that the vaccine is available when making your appointment.

Get vaccinated at least ten days before you travel to Brazil as the vaccine takes ten days to take effect.

You will be provided with written proof of yellow fever vaccination on the ‘International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis‘.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset.

To minimize your risk, you should always take protective measures to avoid insect bites:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants to cover exposed skin;
  • Use insect repellant on exposed skin.

Learn more about insect bite prevention.

What to do if you become ill:

If you develop symptoms of yellow fever such as fever, chills, headache, muscle pain (mostly back pain), jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting:

  • see your health care provider; and
  • tell them where you have been travelling or living.

Information for Healthcare Professionals

The Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) has developed interim recommendations for the use of a fractional dose during a yellow fever vaccine shortage. This statement is for use during yellow fever vaccine shortages only.

Find the World Health Organization latest updates on Yellow fever vaccination recommendations for international travellers to Brazil.



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