South and Central America

Malaria and other Travel Health Risks in South and Central America

If you are planning to travel to South America, you may be interested to know about Malaria risk, Vaccines you may need and other risks like altitude sickness and travellers diarrhoea.

South America is a continent packed with areas of outstanding beauty such as the Amazon rainforest, the waterfalls of Iguazu and the longest mountain range on Earth, the Andes. There is a wide variety of activities for everyone in South America, such as hiking in the Amazon Rainforest, or relaxing and surfing on the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean.

If you want to visit the Amazon Rainforest you should consider Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia. However, these countries have a higher risk of mosquito-borne viruses, especially at lower altitudes. Mosquitoes are responsible for the spread of diseases such as Malaria, Dengue, Zika Virus, Yellow Fever and Chikungunya. Antimalarial medication may be required, in addition to any other vaccinations which are recommended as other diseases may also be prevalent.

If you are visiting destinations with higher altitudes such as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and Cusco in Peru, Quito in Ecuador, La Paz in Bolivia and Bogota in Colombia, you may need medication for altitude sickness such as Acetazolamide.

The warmer summer months are between December and February, whereas the winter months are between June and August.

The culture is extremely diverse, consisting of indigenous sites and ancestry, as well as colonial influence from Europe that has integrated into South America’s population. This has resulted in each country having its own distinct traditions.

Information on risk is gathered from CDC, TravelHealthPro and FitforTravel