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Thread: Vaccinations for travel page

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    Joshy's Avatar
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    Vaccinations for travel

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    At the end of the summer I'm going on a several-month trip to South America. I'll probably by in Colombia for the majority of the time, but may visit Argentina, Panama and Brazil (and possibly other surrounding countries).

    I was never vaccinated as a child and never had any issues with...well, anything. In general I'm not a big believer in vaccines, but at the same time I don't want to be stupid.

    So, for anyone who's knowledgable about vaccines - especially those who have traveled a bit - what's your take on this? What's important and what's unnecessary?

    Thanks!

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    At a minimum I'd want polio, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), hep A and B & perhaps meningitis. I would also be looking at anti-malarials.

    I would probably pack some probiotics as well for the aftermath of the inevitable travelers diarrhea. Not that I'm that paranoid but I have no problem w/ immunization and I like to travel without worry so that I will fully experience the place I'm in.
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    You might start with the CDC site then discuss with your own doctor or someone who specializes in travel medicine.

    Travelers' Health - CDC
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    International Travel

    A lot of interesting information. The menu on the left under Tips for Traveling Abroad - sub menu Health Issues gives links for vaccination information.

    Our local major hospital has a Travel Medicine division - perhaps your local hospital has one.

    Here is their link http://www.christianacare.org/TravelMedicine which give links to other information.
    Last edited by Lynna; 05-12-2011 at 11:13 AM.

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    Yeah I looked at what's required/recommended already. Seems like Yellow Fever is the big one and a few others are recommended. I'd rather just get it for things that are really going to be an issue. Maybe I'll get a few books so I have a better general understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshy View Post
    Yeah I looked at what's required/recommended already. Seems like Yellow Fever is the big one and a few others are recommended. I'd rather just get it for things that are really going to be an issue. Maybe I'll get a few books so I have a better general understanding.
    I'd look into what a travel health website says. Many of them assume you've already been vaccinated during childhood. If they areas where you'll be have a higher rate of mumps, measles, etc . . . you might very well want to get those. Contracting "childhood" diseases as an adult can be deadly and I absolutely would not want to be hospitalized in South America if at all avoidable.

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    You can request to get your titers checked to see if you already have natural immunity to some of the illnesses you are considering vaccinating for.

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    It depends on what you are going to be doing. Missionary work where you will be in contact with a lot of people? Then you will want Hep, MMR, Polio vaccines. Are you going to be building? You'll want a tetanus shot. Hiking? Yellow fever, tetanus. As far as anti-malarials go- they can have some pretty nasty side effects (we had a guy on my trip to Africa who kept hallucinating he was seeing snakes while he was on anti malarials). Make sure to do your research!

    I have traveled extensively around the world and ALWAYS make sure I have the recommended vaccines. I've seen people suffer with some really terrible stuff because they were not vaccinated.

    Have a great trip- South America is beautiful- visit Ecuador if you can- especially Cuenca!

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    You definitely should consider the Hepatitis A vaccine - particularly since you can get it through food and water and the risk is high in South America and there is no specific treatment available to people who contract hep A; treatment is supportive only.

    •Hepatitis A is one of the most common vaccine-preventable infections acquired during travel.
    •In 2006 in the United States, among cases for which information regarding exposures during the incubation period was collected, the most frequently identified risk factor for hepatitis A was international travel (reported by 15% of case-patients overall).
    •As in previous years, most travel-related cases (72%) were associated with travel to Mexico and Central/South America. As HAV transmission in the United States has decreased, cases among travelers to countries in which hepatitis is endemic have accounted for an increased proportion of all cases.
    •The risk of acquiring HAV infection for U.S. residents traveling abroad varies with living conditions, length of stay, and the incidence of HAV infection in the area visited. For travelers to other countries, risk for infection increases with duration of travel and is highest for those who live in or visit rural areas, trek in back-country areas, or frequently eat or drink in settings of poor sanitation.
    •Nevertheless, many cases of travel-related hepatitis A occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.

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