Anyway, there are a couple of diseases down in South America that haven't made their way up to the States, thank goodness. One of them is yellow fever, which is a bit of an epidemic at the moment (thus, the shot), especially in the areas I'm traveling to--Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. I was reading the Thorn Tree of Lonely Planet.com and some people were questioning the need for the yellow fever shot. I have to ask, is it really worth it to risk your health just because you don't want to be stuck (or pay the fee)? Personally, I'm not willing to risk it. Sure it was a pain (ha-get it?) but now that's one less think I have to worry about when I'm down there.
However, the mosquitoes of the southern part of Brazil also carry dengue fever, a potentially deadly disease with no inoculation. So, I'm taking a pile of insect repellant with DEET--the only thing that keeps these 'skeeters away. No problem. No bugs on me!