Vaccinations for South-East Asia
Most travellers on short trips to South East Asia will receive two vaccination shots at least two weeks before travel.
One shot covers Tetanus/Diphtheria.
The other shot covers Hepatitis A/typhoid.
Additional vaccinations to cover Hepatitis B and Rabies should be considered by travellers planning to:
- Visit poorer countries (Laos, Cambodia, Burma)
- Travel 'off the beaten track'
- Undertake voluntary work (orphanages, hospices).
Travel to poorer countries implies access to weaker medical back-up in the event of an emergency and increased risk of accidental infection with Hepatitis B through poor medical treatment or the non-availability of Rabies Immune Globulin for the treatment of animal bites in travellers who are not already vaccinated against rabies. Ideally, Rabies vaccine should be commenced 3 or more weeks pre-travel. Hep B vaccine should be commenced at least 3 and ideally at least 5 weeks pre-travel.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine is used infrequently. The disease represents a very small risk for the majority of travellers (probably in the region of 1:400,000 trips). The JE virus is one that is transmitted by one type of mosquito. This mosquito bites pigs and birds and passes the JE vaccine between the pigs and birds. Humans are infected accidentally. In practice, this means that in order to be at significant risk of JE, one needs to be near large collections of pigs for prolonged periods of time (e.g. living in a village for several months). JE vaccine should be commenced at least 4 weeks pre-travel.
Minimising the risk of Dengue Fever through mosquito bite avoidance is very important in Southeast Asia.