Travel Health Advice for visitors of the 2016 Rio Olympics
The Olympics are the world’s biggest sporting event. This year’s games, hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will feature 42 sports, including the newly added golf and rugby, making the Rio Olympics a must-visit for every sports fan and enthusiast from around the globe. If you consider travelling to the Rio Olympics this year, however, make sure you take the appropriate health measures to ensure your visit will be pleasant, enjoyable and healthy.
Travel Vaccinations for Rio Olympics
As a rule of thumb, all travellers to Brazil must make sure that they are up to date with their Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio, as well as MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccinations. Most travelers are also advised to get vaccinated against Yellow Fever and potentially Typhoid, Hepatitis B, and Rabies. Malaria, a potentially fatal disease, is particularly prevalent in the Amazon areas, but the risk of infection is considered minimal in all states outside Amazonia, including Rio de Janeiro.
Zika Virus Concerns for Rio Olympics
Currently, the biggest health issue in Brazil is the Zika Virus. According to CDC, about 1 in 5 people, infected with the Zika virus will develop the disease, exhibiting symptoms, such as rash, fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis. The course of the disease is around several days to a week, and mortality rates are generally low. However, there’s been a link between Zika-infected mothers and a subsequent birth defect, known as microcephaly, so pregnant women are advised to take the appropriate health measures if visiting Rio this year. The local authorities in Rio de Janeiro are intensifying the preventative measures, performing systematic inspections of the sporting facilities, as well as potential mosquito breeding areas in Rio.
Reducing the Risk of Catching Zika Virus
Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus, but you can minimize your risk by wearing long-sleeved clothes, using a mosquito bed net during the night and apply insect repellent on a regular basis. Staying in places, where there is air conditioning or screens on the doors and windows can also minimize your risk of getting infected by the Zika virus. The good news is that the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus are active during the summer months. August and September are considered winter months in Brazil and, according to data, collected by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, there has been no history of outbreaks during the winter. Nevertheless, taking the appropriate measures – vaccination and preventative measures against Zika – can minimize your risk of infection.
Additional Travel Health Considerations
In addition, Rio has a tropical climate where temperatures that can get as high as 35 degrees or more as well as high humidity, so staying hydrated is also essential. In summary, ensure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations and minimize your risk of Zika infection by following our tips to make the most of your visit of the Rio Olympics this year. If you are planning on travelling to Rio for the Olympics, do speak to one of our travel health nurses at least six weeks prior to departure so that we can discuss your specific health concerns and ensure that you are up-to-date with the vaccinations, medication and advice that you need to ensure you have a safe and happy trip.