The short answer to this question is ‘yes’, but exactly what prophylaxis you require depends on where you intend to travel and, to a lesser extent, what you intend to do. Visit a doctor or travel health clinic four-to-eight weeks before departure to check the latest advice and thereby give yourself plenty of time to book any vaccinations necessary and allow enough time for them to take effect.
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Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which typically feeds during daylight hours.
- Anyone travelling to the east of the Andes below 2,300 metres – particularly the Amazon Basin – should get a Yellow Fever vaccination.
- Although the risk of transmission elsewhere in Peru is lower, it is recommended that travellers heading to any area outside of Lima should be vaccinated.
- Both Cuzco and Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail are considered areas of low-to-no risk for Yellow Fever. However, the Cuzco region as a whole does carry some risk – especially for those spending time in its bug-rich river valleys.
- Aedes mosquitos also transmit Dengue Fever. There is no known vaccine, so take bite-avoidance precautions.
Malaria is a serious red blood cell infection transmitted by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito, which typically feeds in daylight hours. Only those travelling solely to Lima or coastal areas south of Chiclayo are not at risk. Those travelling elsewhere in Peru should adhere to bite-avoidance protocol and take the following malaria-prevention medication:
- If heading to rural areas below 2,000 metres, including the Amazon Basin area which borders Bolivia, take chloroquine.
- If visiting the Amazon Basin area bordering Brazil, take mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil instead.
Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis A and B are viral diseases transmitted through contaminated food and water, and blood and bodily fluids, respectively. The risk of exposure will be greatly influenced by your activities in Peru, so Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for most and B for some travellers.
Rabies is a neurological disease that may be transmitted through the saliva of infected animals. Those visitors heading off the beaten track or working with or near animals should be vaccinated; all other travellers should consider vaccination.
Tetanus is a bacterial toxin found worldwide. Revaccination is recommended every 10 years, so get a booster dose if necessary.
Tuberculosis is a lung disease transmitted through inhaling contaminated respiratory droplets. The UK BCG vaccine immunises against TB.
Typhoid is a bacteria transmitted through contaminated food and water. Vaccination is recommended.