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Health Issues

May 25, 2009

Below Recife Guide offers some general guidelines on staying healthy whilst travelling in Brazil. It was all believed to be true and correct at the date of publication, but situations change. you should therefore check up-to-date information from the relevant government departments in your country. We also advise that you consult your doctor with any specific questions.

Ambulance Service – 192

Entitlement to Treatment

Foreign nationals are entitled to unforeseen emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals.  However, there is no entitlement to treatment for existing illnesses or care after you have been stabilised.  Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be crowded.  Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can present evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. it is therefore advisable to have sufficient travel insurance.

Swine Flu

There are confirmed cases of A (H1N1) – Swine Flu in Brazil (source: Brazilian health authorities). See for further details.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever is common although from January to May 2009, the number of Dengue Fever cases  reported across several states of Brazil was down 52% compared to the same period in 2008. Approximately 70% of Dengue cases are usually reported between January to May each year.  There is no vaccine to protect against Dengue Fever, and you should therefore use mosquito repellent regularly and cover up with suitable clothing to avoid being bitten. Symptoms of Dengue Fever usually begin 7 to 10 days after being bitten and include high fever, aching joints and bones and a headache. If you develop these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

Yellow Fever

No cases of Yellow Fever have been reported in the region, but a number of cases have been reported in other part of Brazil.  The affected states are Sao Paulo (26 confirmed cases including nine deaths between February and April 2009) and Rio Grande do Sul (18 confirmed cases including 7 deaths between November 2008 and May 2009) – source: Brazilian Health Ministry. Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended at least 10 days prior to visiting some parts the affected areas.


Malaria is present in few parts of Brazil, but travelers should seek advice from their doctor before visiting the Amazon region.


In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 710,000 adults aged 15 or over in Brazil were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.6% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

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