Health and Safety in Brazil - The Traveller


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Health and Safety in Brazil

The situation of public health in Brazil is improving despite difficult geographical areas, and isolated cases of cholera and meningitis.

Dengue fever is rising considerably. Yellow fever has been resurgence across the South and particularly in the country's tourism.

However, few serious general risks outside the favelas and rural Amazon, provided to be careful with water. If you choose to go to a private hospital, know that the price of care is very high. It is therefore advisable to take out travel insurance before departure.


For stays in the Amazon rainforest, a medical consultation in a center of international vaccinations and advice to travelers is essential, even if only to assess the risk of malaria (there is also a treatment against it will be required) and also address the prevention of mucocutaneous leishmaniasis steadily expanding. Vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory.

Remember to bring systems water purification: as appropriate, tablets for chemical disinfection, microbial filters Katadyn type.


The main risk of disease comes from mosquitoes. In the forest, it is malaria, yellow fever, leishmaniasis, dengue ... But dengue fever, up sharply, too prevalent in urban areas.

Do you maintain, as far as possible, bites! And that night (malaria) and day (dengue, etc.).. In the forest, in areas infested with mosquitoes, cover up, you sprinkle effective repellents (DEET greater than 35%) and in the absence of air conditioning, do not sleep without a good ITN ... Remember to soak into your clothes.

For the most part, mosquito repellents / arthropods sold in supermarkets or pharmacies are not or insufficiently effective. Nevertheless, there are a range reliable and consistent with the recommendations of the French Ministry of Health: Insect Screen.

In the Amazon, the germ that causes malaria is resistant Nivaquine, we recommend Malarone or, failing that, the Lariam or doxycycline. CAUTION: This is potentially photosensitizing. In all cases, seek the advice of your doctor in every way, these drugs are issued with a prescription.

Some recommendations

- Risk Standing for tourists: the sun. Remember, cap or hat, good sunglasses and sunscreen. Be careful the first few days and do not linger too long on the beaches ... Drink plenty of water.

- Another possible problem: parasites, which multiply in the Brazilian countryside and beaches. Do not walk barefoot and avoid swimming in fresh water. At Bahia in particular, but on all the beaches in general, attention to bicho PE (larva migrans), a parasite that lives in the sand and into the foot. To avoid this, one solution: wear shoes - or sandals - on the beach and lie on a mat!

- Be wary also of bugs, especially in the Amazon: one of them (red and black) transmits Chagas disease, a rare but serious. As for snakes, scorpions and spiders, just watch where you walk and not put his hands anywhere ... In the forest, sleeping in hammocks to avoid this, covered with nets. And we inspect your shoes before putting them on.

- Consultations with a GP practice are very expensive (45 to € 75). The same is true for drugs.

- Pharmacies: in large cities, no difficulty finding open day and night. Please note, employees are not white coats ... pharmacists (pharmacist is usually one day per week). When in doubt, get advice from a doctor before you rush to the pharmacy.

- Finally, remember to protect yourself against AIDS by using condoms.

Dangers and annoy

The images of social and urban violence are cause for concern, yet the day, the beaches and the streets are crowded in the evening, terraces and bars remain lively late at night.

Brazil Is a violent country? Yes, certainly, with about 50,000 murders a year (!). But this spectacular and bloody violence on the world of the little traveler. Over 75% of crimes are the result of conflicts between corrupt police and a youth poor and desperate they are held in the slums of the outskirts.

Specific policies (Policia turística) were established in some large cities (Belém and Salvador, for example). Agents roam all day the sights.

So Brazil is it a dangerous country for the traveler? Our answer is clear: you can travel without worry as long to observe a few simple rules.

We must distinguish, however, within the country, small towns, where the violence was not over, and major urban centers in Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Recife, Natal and Fortaleza, prudence.


- Dress Code: Rule number one, do not look like a tourist!
- Go out with the bare minimum.
- Avoid the trappings of wealth.
- Photos: if you plan to take pictures, a small device that fits in your pocket is better than a bag full of sophisticated objectives.
- At the beach, use an ordinary plastic bag and take only the bare minimum.
- Night: in large cities (such as Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Belém ...), avoid a stroll on foot after dark, move more in a taxi. If you have a car, do as the other drivers and do not stop at red lights only when necessary.

Tips for the money

This is obviously the primary target.

- Always make changes in the specialty pharmacies.
- Never change a stranger, who offers you an attractive rate, it is a blow to be robbed.
- The output of the currency exchange is a place where the robbery attempt and is current.
- In general, do not keep you on the money needed and leave the rest in the hotel safe or properly hidden in your luggage (with a closed padlock).
- Belts with zip inside or installed under your pants are a good solution, provided to a discrete model (cloth) and, of course, avoid using it as a portfolio by putting all money and opening it in public!
- Avoid having large bills in excess of the equivalent of € 20. If you have euros on you, take them out quietly, not bundles.
- Do not leave your wallet or your papers in the back pocket of your pants!
- Never agree to share a drink with a stranger.
- During the carnival in Salvador, Recife, or Rio, follow all previous. Many pickpockets are rife.


We rarely offer drugs to travelers or tourists. Though it depends on the cities. That, at least, a daily reality in Brazil. Large quantities of illicit drugs at low prices to move, mainly marijuana and cocaine. Repression of their possession, transport, use, or trafficking is very severe, whatever the amount.

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