Common Travel Diseases

Hepatitis A

  • A seriously debilitating disease lasting 3 months or longer
  • Contracted from food and water in developing countries
  • Preventable by vaccine
  • 2 doses of vaccine gives life cover
  • Over 40 year olds can die from this disease
  • Alcohol must be avoided for 6 months if you contract this disease
  • Once you have Hepatitis A you are highly contagious to others
  • Incubation period is 2-3 weeks, so you may contract this on holiday and spread it to your friends or work colleagues
  • Vaccination is highly effective

Hepatitis B

  • A seriously debilitating disease lasting for the rest of your (shortened) life
  • Contracted by medical procedures, assault, accidents, blood splashes, or lifestyle misadventures (exchange of bodily fluids)
  • Preventable by vaccine, but not treatable if you get it
  • 3 doses of vaccine over 4 months gives life cover, but the first 2 doses will provide enough cover for your trip
  • If contracted, this disease is often fatal
  • Alcohol must be avoided for 6 months if you contract this disease
  • Once you have Hepatitis B, you are highly contagious to close family members, and your sexual partner

Hepatitis C

  • Essentially the same as Hepatitis B but is not preventable by vaccination

Typhoid

  • A food and water-borne disease usually resulting in hospitalisation (severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain)
  • Most prevalent in developing nations. Oral and injectable vaccines available.
  • Preventable by vaccination, but many strains exist. Previous illness does not help immunity.

Yellow Fever

  • Vaccination is legally required for entry and exit from some countries, especially entry to Australia
  • Advisable to have the vaccine if visiting countries in parts of Africa and South America
  • Highly fatal disease
  • Spread by mosquitoes
  • The vaccine possibly has some side effects (flu like symptoms, sometimes worse)
  • Special precautions suggested for those with weaker immune systems
  • Vaccination only available at licensed clinics such as Travel-Bug Vaccination Clinic
  • Must be over 9 months of age to receive vaccination
  • Vaccination lasts for 10 years
  • Certificate required at airports, and is provided at Travel-Bug

Rabies

  • A fatal disease in every case, almost!
  • Vaccination is possible: 3 doses will give life cover
  • If bitten when unvaccinated, rabies immunoglobulin is required. This is a blood product and in short supply, even unavailable in many countries
  • Prevalent in most overseas countries
  • Carried by all mammals, not just dogs, and they may not exhibit symptoms.
  • Incubation period is from 10 days up to 17 years. Once symptoms become apparent, successful treatment is not possible
  • Life long vaccination is available, so regular travellers should consider this

Meningococcal Meningitis

  • A highly fatal disease
  • Rapidly progressive (within 48 hours)
  • Spread by droplet infection from other people
  • Preventable by vaccine
  • Vaccination recommended for 16-25 year olds, especially if living in dormitory style accommodations or those visiting endemic areas
  • Vaccination lasts 3 years, but a life long vaccine is available overseas
  • Meningitis C vaccine given in school is not adequate cover for travel
  • Required for entry to Saudi Arabia during Hajj

Japanese Encephalitis

  • Transmitted by mosquitoes in rural areas
  • Rice paddocks and pig farms are required for mosquitoes to breed
  • Vaccine recommended for travellers to endemic zone (the warmer parts of Asia) for over 1-2 months
  • Very expensive (over $200).
  • Vaccine course 0, 28d

Childhood Vaccinations

It is very important to have these up to date:

  • Tetanus / Diphtheria / Polio / Whooping Cough
    Travel Bug provides these 4 as 1 injection
  • Measles / Mumps / Rubella
    Travel Bug provides these 3 as 1 injection
  • Chicken Pox: 2 doses required

These diseases are more common overseas but you can also catch them here.

Please research this information before your appointment - it will save you money if you have already had them!

Malaria

  • Spread by mosquitoes
  • Vaccination is not possible. Prevention is by taking medication whilst away, and for 7-28 days after you leave the area
  • A specialist in travel medicine should be consulted for the correct medication and dosage
  • Many areas do not need medication (e.g. most resorts)
  • Africa and the Solomon's are the worst destinations for malaria
  • Repellent (30% DEET, tropical strength) is a vital part of the preventative strategy

Dengue Fever

  • Spread by day-biting mosquitoes
  • No vaccine available
  • No treatment available
  • Eventual recovery
  • 1 - 2 weeks of being severely unwell with flu like illness
  • Repellent containing 30 % DEET advised

Altitude Sickness

  • If you are travelling over 3000m this can affect you
  • People have died from this
  • There is a medication(scientifically proven) that can improve your chances of avoiding this.
  • Tablets do not mask the disease, they prevent it!
  • It is not possible to predict who will get altitude sickness.

Traveller's Diarrhoea

  • Caused by eating and drinking contaminated water
  • E Coli is a very common cause. Cholera can also be a culprit
  • The "Dukoral" vaccine is effective at prevention
  • This is an oral vaccination. 2 doses are required 1 - 2 weeks apart
  • The vaccine becomes fully effective 2 weeks after the last dose

Tuberculosis

  • Vaccination is usually only needed for kids travelling in excess of 6 months to a developing nation

Tick Borne Encephalitis

  • Useful if you are hiking in Europe or Asia
  • Vaccine not available in Australia

Immunoglobulin

  • This is an older product which was once used to prevent Hepatitis A
  • It is a blood product
  • It is no longer approved for this use and is very expensive to produce (over $200 per dose)

Influenza

  • It is highly recommended for tourists travelling to a wintry destination on a guided tour or cruise to have this

Measles

  • A severe illness forgotten by the masses
  • If you are born between 1966 and 1981 your childhood dose of vaccine has worn off. The system has given 2 doses to the younger members of the community (Government agencies have now worked it out!)
  • Each person needs to have 2 doses of the vaccine (or to have had the measles!)

 

 

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