The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Yellow fever in Brazil

Updated February 5, 2018

Released: January 30, 2018

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 January 16, 2018, 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, and areas in Bahia State (see European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control map).

Before your trip:

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

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.

If you cannot get vaccinated against yellow fever, consider not travelling to areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

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’.

During your trip:

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.

During and after your trip:

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 Canadian recommendations for the use of fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine during a 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.

Registration of Canadians Abroad
Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

Related links
About yellow fever
Sickness when travelling?
Sick after travelling?
Travellers Going to Yellow Fever Areas
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
Other Resources
WHO – Yellow fever fact sheet
WHO – Yellow fever Disease outbreak news
CATMAT – Statement for Travellers and Yellow Fever
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – Distribution of confirmed cases of locally acquired yellow fever map

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Date modified: 2017-04-05