There are a number of serious health risks in Brazil, including a high prevalence of dengue fever in urban areas and endemic malaria and yellow fever in the Amazon and central western regions. Brazil has also cases of reported Rabies throughout the country and occasional outbreaks of Cholera. A number of other tropical diseases can be found in Brazil and travelers or expatriates going there should always check an authoritative source of up to date medical advice. Typhoid vaccinations are highly recommended and Polio vaccinations certificates are required for children under the age of six.
Water is unsafe to drink straight from the tap in Brazil and should be boiled or sterilized. Pasteurized milk and dairy products are generally safe in urban areas but not rural areas. Vegetables should be cooked before eating and fruits peeled. Meat and fish should be well cooked before eating.
Brazil has a system of universal, government funded healthcare, administered through the Sistema Unico de Saude (SUS) programme. Anyone can access this free healthcare at a SUS hospital and there is no registration procedure. However the effective delivery of medical care under this programme is hampered by insufficient funding and the hospitals tend to be extremely over-crowded.
In parallel with this public healthcare system is an extensive system of private healthcare for those with private health insurance. In some cases private and public healthcare facilities can be found within the same hospital. Generally speaking private healthcare in Brazil is of a good standard particularly in the main cities. However costs can be high so it’s important to have health insurance