Britons visiting Brazil for the FIFA World Cup this month should be aware of the country’s regional health threats and the lack of free medical care available to UK tourists. They should also take out comprehensive travel insurance and carry their insurer’s contact details with them at all times.
The advice comes from international medical assistance and claims company CEGA, as Brazil predicts an influx of 3.7 million tourists during the tournament.
“Some of the 12 World Cup host cities are more than 2,000 miles apart and they present varying risks to health,” says CEGA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tim Hammond. “For example, the mosquito-borne disease, dengue fever, is prevalent in host cities to the north east, such as Fortaleza, Natal and Salvador; while Manaus, home to England’s opening game against Italy, has a high incidence of malaria.”
Dr Hammond advises fans to “make sure that you have taken medical advice about vaccinations and anti-malarial treatment before you leave the UK and that your travel insurance covers repatriation back to Britain.
“When in Brazil, you can reduce the risk of diseases like dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever by taking precautions against mosquito bites, such as wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs, using insecticide treatments day and night and keeping bedroom windows screened. You should also drink bottled or boiled water to avoid water-borne diseases like hepatitis.”
He adds: “Some areas of the country are a long way from good hospitals and it is essential for travellers to carry the emergency assistance number given to them with their travel insurance policy, so that, if the worst happens, the right support and medical care can be organised quickly and costs can be covered.
“With no reciprocal healthcare agreements between Brazil and the UK, hospitals are unlikely to carry out more than the most basic emergency care without having payment guaranteed upfront, ideally by a travel insurer.”
Other common health risks in Brazil, according to CEGA, include injury from traffic accidents, rabies transmitted by animal bites or scratches and gastro-intestinal problems. CEGA advises all travellers to the country to check the FCO Know Before You Go website, with which it partners, for up to the minute tips about keeping safe and healthy abroad - visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-cup-2014.
Release issued by:
Katie Hughes, Press and Communications
t: 07812 610520
For further information contact:
Gaynor Maunder, Head of Marketing
e: +44 (0)1243 621000