- Travellers to Argentina should get hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations, because you can get both these diseases through contaminated food and water in the country, regardless of where you're staying.
- If you intend to get a tattoo or piercing, have sex with a new partner, or you may require medical procedures, you should consider getting a hepatitis B vaccination. Hepatitis B is spread through sexual contact, contaminated needles and blood products.
- Travellers who are likely to have contact with animals should get a rabies vaccine.
- And if you're heading to the north or northeast of Argentina, you should get a yellow fever vaccine.
Yellow fever is a serious mosquito-transmitted viral disease that can cause serious illness and death. While some people will only be mildly affected, in most cases symptoms are severe and may appear in two stages. In the first stage sufferers will run a fever and have muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches and weakness. Between 15–25% of those who have been infected will move into the second, toxic stage of the disease, of whom half will die within 10 to 14 days. Yellow fever can't be treated, though medication can relieve some of its symptoms.
There is a risk of contracting yellow fever in the north and northeast areas of Argentina, in the Misiones Province (including Iguazu Falls) and parts of Corrientes Province (Beron de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itati, Ituzaingo, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martin, San Miguel and Santo Tome). If you plan to travel to these areas, you'll need a yellow fever vaccination.
To get the jab, you'll need to go to an approved yellow fever vaccination clinic, which will be able to provide you with a special certificate in a form approved by the World Health Organization. You'll be protected 10 days from the day you get the jab, and it'll last for life.
If you visit areas that have a risk of yellow fever, you won't be allowed into some countries without your certificate. Australian customs officers may ask for proof of a yellow fever vaccination, but they won't prevent you from re-entering the country. You'll be given an information card and told to look out for symptoms over the next few days.
Where can you get a yellow fever vaccination?
To find your nearest yellow fever vaccination clinic, contact your local health department.
Australian Capital Territory
Communicable Disease Control
ACT Department of Health
Phone: (02) 6205 2300
ACT Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
New South Wales
Public Health Units
NSW Department of Health
Phone: 1300 066 055
NSW Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
NT Centre for Disease Control
Department of Health and Families
Phone: (08) 8922 8044
NT Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Communicable Diseases Unit
Phone: (07) 3328 9724
QLD Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Department of Health
Phone: 1300 232 272
SA Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Communicable Disease Prevention Unit
Phone: 1800 671 738
Tas Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Department of Health
Phone: 1300 882 008
Vic Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Department of Health Western Australia
Phone: (08) 9388 4878
WA Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres
Northern areas of Argentina including Tucuman Province are currently experiencing an outbreak of the Zika virus. The illness is often asymptomatic, though one in five infected people will suffer flu-like symptoms for a few days. Some people may get a fever, rash, severe headache, joint pain, and muscle or bone pain, though in most cases they will not need to go to the hospital.
Zika is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, but there have been rare cases of the disease being sexually transmitted.
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant face the greatest risk from Zika, as it can cause children to be born with microcephaly – a seriously underdeveloped head and brain. The Australian government recommends women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant reconsider their need to travel to Argentina.
You should try to avoid mosquito bites by covering up in light-coloured clothing and wearing repellent containing DEET or Picaridin.
Check Smart Traveller's Zika Bulletin and the World Health Organization's Zika factsheet for the latest advice.
Malaria and dengue fever
Malaria is present in rural areas along Argentina's northern borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. Malaria risk can be minimised by taking anti-malarial medications (prophylaxis).
Travellers may also encounter dengue fever and chikungunya, especially in the wet seasons (May to August and November to January). As with Zika, avoid these mosquito-borne diseases by covering up in light-coloured clothing and wearing insect repellent.
Tap water in Argentina's major cities is safe to drink. In rural areas, you should only drink boiled or bottled water and avoid ice cubes.