What vaccines do I need for South America - Peru, Bolivia, the Amazon, Iguassu Falls and more?
South America is a traveller's paradise - whether it's combining history and scenery on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or combining culture and food on the streets of Rio de Janeiro; whether it's exploring the deepest darkest jungles of the Amazon rainforest or seeing plate tectonics and evolution at work in the Galapagos Islands; from brazen, bold Colombia in the north to remote, scenic Patagonia in the south - South America has it all.
Travel to South America is not without its risks, and it is essential to seek expert advice from a travel doctor at least six weeks before you depart. Having extensively travelled South America myself, I have hands-on experience of the health risks you might face there. Make sure you book an appointment to see me at the Waikato Travel Clinic before you go.
As you would expect with a diverse continent like South America, pre-travel advice and vaccination requirements vary significantly depending on your destination. At the simple end, for example, is a brief business trip to Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina. These are considered low risk journeys and your requirements might be minimal. For this type of journey I recommend being up-to-date with Tetanus and Influenza vaccines, considering Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccination, and taking food and water precautions.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a typical backpackers adventure from Lima, Peru to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil taking in Lima, the Nazca Lines, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, the Lares Trek or Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Amazon jungle, Arequipa, Puno, Lake Titicaca, the Salt Flats, Potosi, Sucre, La Paz, the Pantanal wetlands, the Iguassu Falls, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro requires a complex series of pre-travel vaccinations/treatments including (but not necessarily limited to): Yellow Fever, Rabies, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Cholera, Tetanus, Influenza, malaria chemoprophylaxis, preventative tablets for altitude illness and traveller's diarrhoea pills.
It is important to note that Yellow Fever is a mandatory requirement of entry to certain countries, and is recommended for others. For example, if you enter Ecuador from Peru, or Chile from Bolivia, or Argentina from Brazil; you may be required to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. This comes in the form of an International Health Requirement Certificate issued by an Authorised Yellow Fever Vaccinator such as myself. So book now, to avoid issues at border control such as a 7-day quarantine, deportation, or forced vaccination.