Going to Brazil? Get yellow fever jab, says MOH

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is concerned that people going for the Rio Olympics in Brazil might bring yellow fever to Singapore, and is advising them to get vaccinated before they go.

This is because yellow fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquito that is responsible for dengue, which is endemic here, and the Zika virus - of which at least one case was identified here earlier this month.

MOH said yesterday that while this disease is not endemic in Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games will be held in August, it is so in most states in Brazil. It expects more people from Singapore to go to Brazil for the Games and advises them to get the vaccine at least 10 days before they go. A check with several clinics found the cost ranges from $160 to $240.

MOH said: "Although there are as yet no reported cases of yellow fever in Singapore, any importation of the disease risks the disease taking root here due to the presence of the Aedes mosquito."

It said the vaccine, which is available at more than 100 clinics, "is the most effective preventive measure against yellow fever" and confers lifetime immunity. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint ache, loss of appetite and nausea or vomiting. However, most infected people have mild or no symptoms.

It urged people who, for medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated to protect themselves from mosquito bites. They should see a doctor if they have any yellow fever symptoms.

The Singapore National Olympic Council said the country's delegation to the Games - which includes athletes, coaches and support staff - will be vaccinated. As of now, 24 athletes will represent Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Going to Brazil? Get yellow fever jab, says MOH'. Print Edition | Subscribe