Yellow fever is an acute viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. 

Infection with the yellow fever virus causes varying degrees of disease, from mild symptoms to severe illness with bleeding and jaundice.

About 15% of people infected with yellow fever progress to a severe form of the illness, and half of those will die, as there is no cure for yellow fever.

Beginning in late 2016 Brazil has experienced its most significant outbreak of yellow fever since 2000.

This outbreak includes areas of four states (Minas Gerais, Bahia, Espirito Santo, and Sao Paulo) where yellow fever has not spread in decades and which previously have not required vaccination for travellers.

Areas at risk

The areas in Brazil where yellow fever vaccine has previously been recommended are provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (external link).

The following areas are now also considered to be at risk, and travellers/residents in these areas should ensure they are vaccinated against yellow fever and avoid mosquito bites:

• Bahia State; the following municipalities in the south and south-west of the State: Alcobasa; Belmonte; Canavieiras; Caravelas; Ilheus; Itacare; Mucuri; Nova Visosa; Porto Seguro; Prado; Santa Cruz Cabralia; Una; Urusuca; Almadina; Anage; Arataca; Barra do Chosa; Barro Preto; Belo Campo; Buerarema; Caatiba; Camacan; Candido Sales; Coaraci; CondeUba; Cordeiros; Encruzilhada; Eunapolis; Firmino Alves; Floresta Azul; Guaratinga; Ibicarai; Ibicui; Ibirapua; Itabela; Itabuna; Itagimirim; Itaju do Colonia; Itajuipe; Itamaraju; Itambe; Itanhem; Itape; Itapebi; Itapetinga; Itapitanga; Itarantim; Itororo; Jucurusu; Jussari; Lajedao; Macarani; Maiquinique; Mascote; Medeiros Neto; Nova Canaa; Pau Brasil; Piripa; Planalto; Posoes; Potiragua; Ribeirao do Largo; Santa Cruz da Vitoria; Santa Luzia; São Jose da Vitoria; Teixeira de Freitas; Tremedal; Vereda; Vitoria da Conquista.

• Espírito Santo State: all areas at risk for YF transmission with the exception of the urban area of Vitoria.

• Rio de Janeiro State; at risk for YF transmission in the following northern municipalities bordering Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo States:    Bom Jesus do Itabapoana; Cambuci; Cardoso Moreira; Italva; Itaperuna; Laje do Muriae; Miracema; Natividade; Porciuncula; Santo Antonio de Padua; São Fidelis; São Jose de Uba; Varre-Sai; Campos dos Goytacazes; São Francisco de Itabapoa; São João da Barra.

Advice to travellers

Advice to travellers planning to visit areas at risk of yellow fever transmission in Brazil includes:

  • Vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days prior to the travel;
  • Observation of measures to avoid mosquito bites
  • Awareness of symptoms and signs of yellow fever
  • Travellers through at-risk regions should carefully monitor their health while traveling and upon return from an area at risk for yellow fever transmission.

The Brazilian Government and the World Health Organisation are watching this situation carefully and will update areas at risk and recommendations as more information becomes available. More information regarding yellow fever is available on the Ministry of Health’s website.