Whether you are an accomplished world-traveler or are setting out on your first voyage, you probably know that travel vaccines are required for certain parts of the world. Sure, you have heard of immunizations for Typhoid and Yellow Fever, and you may have even taken malarial pills on more than one occasion. But there are several other immunizations that you may not have heard much about. These lesser-known vaccines can help you avoid some debilitating diseases in some of the world’s most beautiful places.
From the beautiful Tinago Falls in the Philippines to rural areas of Papua New Guinea, Japanese Encephalitis is a risk factor for travelers who will be outside frequently or staying for extended periods of time. JE is a year-round risk for tropical and subtropical areas and a summer-to-fall risk for the mild climates of northern Asia. Symptoms of this disease usually take 5-15 days to develop, and include fever, vomiting, swelling in the brain, coma, and even death. The good news – there is a vaccine! It’s best to see your doctor at least 6 weeks prior to travel as the JE vaccine is given in two doses that are spaced out over a month. The last dose should be given at least 10 days prior to departure.
If you are traveling in sub-Saharan Africa during the dry season or making a pilgrimage to Mecca during the Hajj, then you are required to get a meningococcal vaccine. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria that spreads via close contact with an infected person. Common symptoms can include sudden fever, headache, a stiff neck, vomiting, confusion, tiredness, chills, severe aches and pains, fast breathing, and a dark purple rash. Meningococcal disease is very serious and can cause death in as little as a few hours. Fortunately, the meningococcal vaccine offers protection from the disease. Even if you have received a meningococcal vaccine before, you may need a booster dose. It takes 7-10 days for your body to develop protection, so plan accordingly.
All children born and raised in the United States have already received 4 doses of the polio vaccine by the time they reach age 6. Though this crippling and potentially fatal disease has been eliminated from most of the world, eight countries reported cases of polio in 2015: Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ukraine. If one of these locations is on your bucket list, then you should get a one-time booster dose to provide full protection.
Unfortunately, rabies is found worldwide (excluding Antarctica). This deadly disease is spread through licks, bites, or scratches from infected animals such as bats, foxes, dogs, and raccoons. Many countries have a similar risk factor for contracting rabies as the United States; however, there are areas of greater risk that include much of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. If your vacation activities involve contact with animals or you plan on spending a lot of time outside, you should consider a rabies vaccine. This vaccine is given in a 3-shot series spaced out over the course of one month.
Why spend your vacation worrying when you can contact the experts at Travel Vaccines and Wellness Solutions for up-to-date immunization information. We will ensure that you are fully covered so you can get back to enjoying your fun in the sun.