World Cup fever web chat - travel medicine 

This one hour web chat took place at:
11am - 12 noon on Wednesday 21 May 2014.

Make sure ‘World Cup’ fever is the only fever you get on your travels – whether you’re going to Rio to watch the football this summer, or going to Rome to soak up the culture, make sure you’re ready to travel safely by reading our travel medicine web chat. 

Our experts, Dr Dipti Patel and Dr Vanessa Field, are joint directors of the National Travel Health Network and Centre NaTHNaC. NaTHNaC brings together leading academic and health centres to create a travel medicine advice and information centre of excellence which sets the standard for GPs and other health professionals to follow.  If you need a jab to go trekking in the jungle, it’s likely that the NaTHNaC have researched what you need and when. Drs Patel and Field were here to answer your questions about what precautions you might need to take before you travel, what to do if you get ill abroad and what you should do upon your return.

The web chat was online for an hour.

World Cup fever web chat - travel medicine

10:51 UCLH: 
Good morning and welcome to our web chat. We will begin at 11am but you can submit your questions now in preparation for the chat. Please note: your questions will not appear in the main chat window until after 11am.

Dr Dipti Patel and Dr Vanessa Field will be joining us to take your questions on ‘travel medicine’ and will try to answer as many questions as possible within the hour long web chat.
Wednesday May 21, 2014 10:51 UCLH
11:00 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Welcome to our web chat on the subject of travel medicine. Our names are Dr Dipti Patel and Dr Vanessa Field and we are ready and waiting to take your questions.
11:07 [Comment From CherryCherry: ] 
Hi - what's the best way of giving children anti malaria meds?
11:10 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hello Cherry
That’s a good question. It really depends on how old they are and the type of anti malarial medication that you are wanting to give. Some are available in syrup form and some only in tablet form. These can be crushed and mixed with something sweet to encourage the child to swallow them. Your travel clinic or general practice will be able to advise you further.
11:15 [Comment From LukeLuke: ] 
I am off to Brazil. Is the water safe to drink there, or should I stick to bottled water?
11:15 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hi Luke,
This is a very good point and something that everyone should think about.
Our general rule is it is better to be safe and assume that water straight from the tap may not be OK to drink. You don’t want to spoil your trip with travellers’ diarrhoea so check our fact sheet on food and water hygiene at
11:16 [Comment From GerryGerry: ] 
I've heard on the news about a disease called dengue fever, and that there's no vaccine for it. Should people going to Brazil for the World Cup be worried about getting this?
11:22 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hello Gerry
A number of diseases spread by insect bites, such a dengue fever and malaria, are common in Brazil. The risk of dengue outbreaks during the World Cup has been looked at recently by researchers and some of the host cities are at medium to high risk. For England fans Manaus is one of these. There is no available vaccine or tablets to prevent dengue. Travellers should follow good insect bite avoidance measures day and night. See our factsheet:
11:28 [Comment From FrancesFrances: ] 
I have heard that there are a lot of mosquitoes that carry diseases in Brazil – what insect repellent should I use?
11:30 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hello Frances,
You are right that there are a number of mosquito borne diseases in Brazil like dengue fever and malaria. We would recommend using DEET (N, N-diethylmetatoluamide) based repellents as these are very effective. Of course there are other things you can do to avoid being bitten like covering up – again you might want to check our fact sheet on this which has some useful tips
11:30 [Comment From WendyWendy: ] 
Hi Dipti & Vanessa - what are the healthcare facilities like in the cities hosting the WC? Do they stock rabies vaccination + immunoglobulin?
11:37 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hi Wendy
There are some very good medical facilities in Brazil but availability will vary depending on which city you are in and whether you access public or private medical care. We are aware from surveys done that rabies vaccination and immunoglobulin is available in some places but this not be assumed and it remains important to avoid being bitten. You can read more at:
Your health professional will be able to advise more on whether you need rabies vaccine before you go.
11:42 [Comment From VickyVicky: ] 
My dad suffered a mini stroke a few years ago and he is fine now, but we are going abroad on holiday this year, and I am worried that something will happen. We went away two years ago and he was fine, but it always at the back of my mind as I won’t know what to do. What is the best advice?
11:44 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Dear Vicky,
It sounds like you’ve already booked the trip – but generally advice would vary according to where you are going, what you are doing, and how long you are going for. The most important thing is for him to see his doctor (GP) well in advance of the trip to discuss his travel plans as there may be some additional advice/precautions they would recommend. In addition you must make sure your dad has comprehensive medical insurance for the trip and declare his medical history – remember to check the fine print.
11:45 [Comment From NikkeNikke: ] 
Would you advise hepB as routine to everyone going, or do the usual risk assessment how good are their medical facilities
11:50 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hi Nikke
Thank you for your question. I would advise performing a full risk assessment as for any traveller. We do consider Brazil to be one of the higher risk countries for Hepatitis B so vaccination is an important consideration. Information which can be found on our Country Information Page will help you decide who should have the vaccine.
11:51 [Comment From GerryGerry: ] 
This is an awkward question but.....what is the view on contraception in Brazil, are contraceptive products (e.g. condoms) freely available?
11:56 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Hello Gerry,
Please don’t feel awkward about asking this question – we are glad you have as it is an important issue for travellers. I’m afraid we cannot specifically comment on the acceptability or availability of contraception in Brazil, but would always recommend that you take condoms out from the UK – this way you can be assured of their quality, and in nearly every case, condoms will help protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
11:57 [Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
My GP surgery said they don't offer yellow fever vaccination. Where can I get this jab?
11:57 [Comment From RobertRobert: ] 
I have been told that I may need yellow fever vaccine but the disease is only in some parts of Brazil. Do I need the vaccine for Manaus and Rio?
12:07 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Dear John and Robert
Hopefully this response will answer both your questions.
Yellow fever is a risk in Manaus but not in Rio - so it is recommended that travellers to Manaus are vaccinated - your doctor/nurse/pharmacist should be able to advise you on whether it is suitable for you. Yellow fever vaccines can only be given by registered yellow fever vaccination centres – so some GP surgeries may not offer it. NaTHNaC has a list of registered yellow fever vaccination centres on our website – you can check this list for details of a centre near you at
12:08 [Comment From HeatherHeather: ] 
Thank you for the interesting webchat, I've never used it before. Are you football fans and who do you support?!
12:09 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Believe it or not - we are both Liverpool Fans - go Stevie Gerard!
12:10 Dipti and Vanessa: 
Thank you for joining us today in our live web chat. We hope you found the chat useful and some of your questions have been answered. Please follow the links below for more information and advice:

 Useful links