Nearly three years have passed since I wrote an article explaining my decision to not to get a yellow fever vaccine before visiting the state of Amazonas in Brazil, and I still receive questions about that decision.
While the Consulate General of Brazil in Washington D.C. urges travelers who are visiting rural areas in specific states to take the vaccine, I chose not to and am glad I saved the money in doing so. If you are debating on whether or not to get the vaccine, hopefully this conversation I had with a reader of The Orange Traveler will help you decide on what to do:
Reader: When you were in the Amazon area, did you experience many mosquitoes?
The Orange Traveler: I visited Manaus in August, which is one of the dry months in the city. Manaus receives a lot of rainfall during the fall months, March through May.
When I arrived in the city, I was told by Maristela Schittini, my Airbnb host, that mosquitoes are not a problem during the dry months, and that is what I experienced. Manaus is a big city, so if you are within city limits for your duration, you should be perfectly fine. If you visit the Amazon or swim in one of the rivers, you may come across some.
To be honest, though, I can’t remember a single time I felt a bite or had the urge to itch. I do not remember seeing mosquitoes, and I visited many parks with dense vegetation and streams, as well as swam in the Rio Negro. Overall, I was in Manaus for one week.
Reader: Did you regret your lack of immunization while you were there (i.e. were you fearful of your activities because there seemed to be the chance to get bitten)?
The Orange Traveler: I do not regret my decision at all. I was told to be cautious before I visited, especially because the Zika virus was starting to become more prominent throughout Brazil, but I had no issues during my stay in Manaus.
Did this information help? Have you traveled to Manaus or taken a yellow fever vaccination? What advice do you have for travelers?
Share you thoughts below.