Adhering to hygiene rules, avoiding eating on the street and drinking only bottled and boiled water is not enough to protect yourself from illness when traveling long distances. You must be vaccinated to ensure that the disease and complications are avoided by us. Vaccinations protect against: typhoid fever, cholera, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. Mandatory vaccinations, carried out as part of the vaccination calendar, which are also important for travelers, are vaccinations against polio, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis B. In addition, it is also worth remembering about vaccinations against hepatitis A, ie food jaundice, meningococcal and flu vaccinations performed every now and then. Protection against meningococcal type A and C is especially important for those traveling to Sub-Saharan Africa year-round and to Dubai in August and September. Extended stays in Asia associated with staying outdoors in rural areas may require immunization against Japanese encephalitis.
The basis of prophylaxis, also for travelers, is mandatory vaccinations according to the vaccination schedule – explains the doctor Damian Okruciński, pediatrician, doctor of travel medicine and traveler in an interview with the portal szczepsiewiedza.pl – For example, we can only be vaccinated against tuberculosis, one of the most contagious diseases in the world, in childhood. Even a nearby trip to Poland or Europe can end tragically with a tick bite, so I recommend getting vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). I am also sorry to say about measles, where the dramatic increase in incidence in southern Europe, Ukraine and Poland is accompanied by refusals to vaccinate. In the current situation, even going to Italy or Croatia is associated with an increased risk of contracting the disease, so you need to make sure that your child has received two doses of the vaccine that offers full protection, and that adults those who were not vaccinated in childhood are now vaccinated. Regardless of travel arrangements, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough should be vaccinated every 10 years. Checking the immunization and, if necessary, replenishing the vaccinations should be at the top of the list of things to do before any trip.
Typhoid fever is a disease that occurs all over the world. The greatest risk of disease is in Asia, South and Central America, and Africa. Typically, typhoid symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, spleen, lymph nodes, diarrhea or constipation, and pneumonia. Complications include gastrointestinal bleeding, small bowel perforation, encephalitis, and sepsis. Death occurs in 10-30% of untreated patients. The only effective way to prevent typhoid is through vaccinations, which must be repeated every 3 years if you regularly travel to the regions of the world where typhoid is most common.
Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory if you go to Central Africa and some South American countries. Current information can be found on the websites of the embassies of these countries. Always check the information there before you go, as it may turn out that when you drive from one country to another, the lack of mandatory vaccinations prevents us from carrying out our plans. Yellow fever vaccination provides nearly 100% immunity and one dose provides lifelong protection. The symptoms of this disease are very high fever, chills, cough, nausea, vomiting, sometimes yellowing of the skin and reddening of the conjunctiva. Complications include neurological disorders and kidney failure, and even coma and death.
Travelers to Asia and Africa should not forget the cholera vaccine, which is associated with acute diarrhea and vomiting, or chronic urinary tract infections, which can lead to heart and kidney failure and death. The vaccine reduces the risk of traveler’s diarrhea. Rabies is a 100% fatal disease for people who don’t get the right vaccine, causing more than 50,000 deaths a year, mainly in Asia, Africa and South America. The most common infection is from a bite or scratch by a homeless dog, bat, squirrel, or monkey.
Illness can be prevented by travel prophylactic vaccination. For unvaccinated individuals prophylactically exposed to infection, post-exposure vaccination is a life-saving intervention.