|A few months before we left for Ecuador, my wonderful brother/M.D. reminded us to check on our vaccinations. I had completely forgotten about that! We had some from previous trips, but, sure enough, checked with our local clinic, who has an immunization for travelers office, and she provided us with this great information. She have us what we needed to travel to other countries, too! It wasn’t bad at all! Ecuador, as of right now, has very few, if any cases of malaria, for instance, so you’re pretty safe if just coming here. More information below.|
Preparing for Your Trip to Ecuador
Before visiting Ecuador, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination: (Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities.)
To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it.
Even if you have less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see a health-care provider for needed vaccines, anti-malaria drugs and other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.
CDC recommends that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. Find a travel medicine clinic near you. If you have a medical condition, you should also share your travel plans with any doctors you are currently seeing for other medical reasons.
If your travel plans will take you to more than one country during a single trip, be sure to let your health-care provider know so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for all of your destinations. Long-term travelers, such as those who plan to work or study abroad, may also need additional vaccinations as required by their employer or school.
Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Check the links below to see which vaccinations adults and children should get.
Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) are given at all stages of life; see the childhood and adolescent immunization schedule and routine adult immunization schedule.
Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel. Although childhood diseases, such as measles, rarely occur in the United States, they are still common in many parts of the world. A traveler who is not vaccinated would be at risk for infection.
Vaccine recommendations are based on the best available risk information. Please note that the level of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases can change at any time.
|Vaccination or Disease||Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases|
|Routine||Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.|
|Yellow Fever||Yellow fever vaccination requirement for travelers to Ecuador: Required from travelers ≥1 year of age coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Nationals and residents of Ecuador are required to possess certificates of vaccination on their departure to an area with risk of yellow fever transmission. CDC recommendation: For all travelers ≥9 months of age who are traveling to the following provinces in the Amazon Basin: Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe, and all other areas in the eastern part of the Andes Mountains, NOT including the cities of Quito and Guayaquil or the Galápagos Islands. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10 year intervals if there is on-going risk. Find an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccination clinic.|
|Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.|
|Hepatitis B||Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map), especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).|
|Typhoid||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Tropical South America, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water.|
|Rabies||(Does not apply to travelers visiting only the Galapagos Islands): Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for travelers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians) for long-term travelers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites.
Areas of Ecuador with Malaria: All areas at altitudes <1,500 m (<4,921 ft). Not present in the cities of Guayaquil, Quito, and the Galápagos Islands
If you will be visiting an area of Ecuador with malaria, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. Ways to prevent malaria include the following:
All of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria in Ecuador: Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please see Drugs to Prevent Malaria.
Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Ecuador and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.
To find out more information on malaria throughout the world, you can use the interactive CDC malaria map. You can search or browse countries, cities, and place names for more specific malaria risk information and the recommended prevention medicines for that area.
A Special Note about Antimalarial Drugs
You should purchase your antimalarial drugs before travel. Drugs purchased overseas may not be manufactured according to United States standards and may not be effective. They also may be dangerous, contain counterfeit medications or contaminants, or be combinations of drugs that are not safe to use.
Halofantrine (marketed as Halfan) is widely used overseas to treat malaria. CDC recommends that you do NOT use halofantrine because of serious heart-related side effects, including deaths. You should avoid using antimalarial drugs that are not recommended unless you have been diagnosed with life-threatening malaria and no other options are immediately available.
For detailed information about these antimalarial drugs, see Information for the Public: Prescription Drugs for Malaria.
More Information About Malaria
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health-care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below).
Travelers to malaria risk-areas in Ecuador, including infants, children, and former residents of Ecuador, should take one of the antimalarial drugs listed in the box above.
Malaria symptoms may include
Malaria symptoms will occur at least 7 to 9 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Fever in the first week of travel in a malaria-risk area is unlikely to be malaria; however, you should see a doctor right away if you develop a fever during your trip.
Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria infections with Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Despite using the protective measures outlined above, travelers may still develop malaria up to a year after returning from a malarious area. You should see a doctor immediately if you develop a fever anytime during the year following your return and tell the physician of your travel.
Items to Bring With You
Medicines you may need:
Note: Some drugs available by prescription in the US are illegal in other countries. Check the US Department of State Consular Information Sheets for the country(s) you intend to visit or the embassy or consulate for that country(s). If your medication is not allowed in the country you will be visiting, ask your health-care provider to write a letter on office stationery stating the medication has been prescribed for you.
Other items you may need:
See other suggested over-the-counter medications and first aid items for a travelers’ health kit.
Other Diseases Found in Tropical South America