Tourist’s Guide to Diseases in Ecuador and Galapagos
Galapagos Travel, Amazon Travel, Ecuador

Tourist’s Guide to Diseases in Ecuador and Galapagos

Are you are coming down to visit the Galapagos Islands, Macchu Pichu, or Ecuador? Make sure that you are up to date on all the information related to the diseases present in the area to prevent bringing back an undesired or even dangerous illness. Here is our guide to diseases in Ecuador, Peru, Ecuador, and the Amazon.

Galapagos Islands

There is no vaccination requirement for the Galapagos regions of Ecuador, and the disease risk is very low. Check out our guide to bugs in the Galapagos islands!

Major Cities/ Sierra

There is no vaccination requirement for the Sierra region, which is the region above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). This includes major cities such as Cuenca, Quito, and Loja. Moreover, the city of Guayaquil is safe from most diseases.

Coast and Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

This area has the highest risk of catching diseases. Those visiting this region should read ahead to learn the risks and necessary vaccinations to prevents these Diseases in Ecuador.

Diseases of Ecuador

Hepatitis A – Diseases in Ecuador

An infectious disease of the liver caused by Hepatovirus A (HAV). Common causes include contaminated food and drinking water along with uncooked/ insufficiently cooked shellfish. The duration between infection and symptoms, in those who develop them (many cases have little to no symptoms), is between two and six weeks.

Symptoms typically persist for eight weeks, and potentially involve:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  •  jaundice
  • fever
  • Abdominal pain.

Approximately 10–15% of people experience a recurrence of symptoms during the six months after the initial infection. Acute liver failure rarely occurs, with this being more common in the elderly.

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Hepatitis B – Diseases in Ecuador

A viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic diseases. Spread by needlestick injury, tattooing, piercing, and exposure to infected blood and body fluids, such as saliva and, menstrual, vaginal, and seminal fluids.

  • Symptoms of Hepatitis B include:
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Extreme fatigue
  •  Nausea
  • Vomiting and abdominal pain.

In some, the hepatitis B virus can lead to a chronic liver infection that may later develop into cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. A small percentage of people with acute hepatitis can develop acute liver failure, which can lead to death

Typhoid Fever – Diseases of Ecuador

Bacterial infection derives from a specific type of Salmonella. The transmission of typhoid is only human to human. Sanitation and hygiene are crucial in preventing typhoid. Health experts recommend frequently washing hands, and eating foot only prepared in strict sanitary conditions.especially if using the transit system. Careful food preparation and washing of hands are crucial to prevent typhoid. with typhoid ridden bacteria of human stool spreading to another human via food, water, or unsanitary conditions. Moreover, do not drink tap water.

Symptoms range from mild to severe and usually start 6 to 30 days after exposure. They include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Mild vomiting
  • Skin rash with rose-colored spots
  • Encephalitis
  • Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis

Yellow Fever

Diseases in Ecuador Yellow fever vaccine recommendations in Ecuador

Yellow Fever Vaccine recommendations in Ecuador

This is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of an infected female

The “yellow” in the name comes from jaundice that affects some patients.

Once infected, the virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days.

Many do not feel symptoms, but when these do occur, the most common are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.

In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days.

Not recommended for travelers with itineraries above 2,300 m (7,546 ft) in elevation, Guayaquil and Quito, or the Galápagos Islands.

Note: The Yellow fever vaccine in the United States is limited. You may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Find the clinic nearest you.

Common Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Jaundice
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Dengue Fever – Diseases in Ecuador

A mosquito-borne viral disease occurring in tropical and subtropical areas. It is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus. This mosquito becomes a vector after biting a person with dengue virus in their blood. It can’t be spread directly from one person to another person. The species of mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever cannot survive at altitudes beyond 2,300 meters, including the cities of Quito, Cuenca, and the area of Macchu Picchu.

Common Symptoms include:

  • Sudden, high fever
  • Skin Rash (Develops 2-5 days after the fever)
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Severe cases include serious bleeding and shock, which can be life-threatening.
  • Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)

Malaria – Diseases in Ecuador

Diseases in Ecuador - MalariaMalaria passes to humans through the bite of infected anopheles mosquitoes.

These mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite, which is released to the bloodstream after being bitten by the infected mosquito.

Malaria is not present in the cities of Guayaquil and Quito or the Galápagos Islands (see Map 2-12).

See more detailed information about malaria in Ecuador.

Follow the ABCD protocol for prevention and treatment.

Awareness of the risk

The risk depends on the specific location, the season of travel, duration of stay, activities, and type of accommodation.

Bite prevention

Take mosquito bite avoidance measures. This includes wearing bug spray and sleeping in mosquito nets in risk areas.


Take antimalarials (malaria prevention tablets) if appropriate for the area (see below). Taking them in combination with mosquito bite avoidance measures will give substantial protection against malaria. Medicines include

  • Chloroquine.
  • Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone®)
  • Artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem®)
  • Mefloquine.
  • Quinine.
  • Doxycycline (used in combination with quinine)

Travelers who develop a fever of 38°C [100°F] or higher more than one week after being in a malaria-risk area, or who develop any symptoms suggestive of malaria within a year of return should seek immediate medical care.

Common Symptoms of Malaria include:

  • shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
  • High fever
  • profuse sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Muscle pain
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Bloody stools

Zika in Ecuador – Diseases in Ecuador

Diseases in Ecuador - Zika

Areas below 6,500 feet, 2000 meters, are considered at-risk areas

Zika virus is caused by a virus spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. Contractions during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly or other congenital malformations. This can also cause preterm birth and miscarriage. Pregnant women are recommended to stay away from risk areas.

Common Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Malaise or headache


An infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. It is transferred to humans through drinking water that is not cleaned and filtered. This includes municipal water, ice made from municipal water, foods and drinks sold by street vendors, vegetables grown with water containing human wastes, and raw or undercooked fish and seafood caught in waters polluted with sewage.

How long to get the vaccination before your Ecuador trip?

Health professionals recommend the optimal time to get a vaccination6 weeks before your trip and a minimum of 4 weeks before travel. This time allows the vaccines time to begin functioning, so you’re guarded while traveling. It will also usually make sure there’s enough time for you to get vaccines that require more than 1 dose.

Treatment of Diseases in Ecuador

Ecuador has a comprehensive national health system, which is highly affordable. For cases that need emergency attention or treating diarrhea, visiting a hospital for treatment is possible.

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About Angel Nunez

Ecuador & Galapagos Travel Consultant, Blogger, Fitness & Health Aficionado, Amateur Photographer & Designer. Here to guide you through stories and visuals, what Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands & Peru have in store for you!

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