Vaccinations & preventative medications - Asia
Last Updated: 21st May 2013
Some areas that Contiki travels to in Asia maybe very different to those that you are from. Like many regions, there are suggested prophylaxis (vaccinations and preventative medications) which are recommended when travelling here. The choice as to whether to get these prophylaxis remains entirely up to you. Please read the following information as a guide as to how to prepare for your Contiki Asia experience.
It is strongly recommended you seek the advice of a travel doctor, who specialises in medicines for the travellers. This should be done in addition to consulting your doctor before you travel. Travel doctors will generally try to specifically match the required prophylaxis to the location/s being visited. Travel doctors also need to remain “up-to-the-minute” with the latest information provided by governments and international health organisations (such as the W.H.O. and US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Some suggested vaccinations are listed here:
Diphtheria and tetanus: Combined vaccinations for these two diseases are usually given in childhood and should be boosted every ten years.
Hepatitis A: Vaccination provides immunity for up to ten years and involves an initial injection followed by another six months to one year later.
Typhoid: Vaccination takes the form of an injection or capsules.
Meningococcal Meningitis: This vaccine is generally recommended for travelers making extended visits to rural, northern Vietnam. Protection lasts for three years.
Rabies: People making longer trips to remote areas should consider a rabies vaccination, which involves three injections over a period of three to four weeks.
Japanese B Encephalitis: People on trips of a month or more to areas suffering from recent outbreaks should consider getting this vaccine, which involves three shots over one month.
Malaria and Dengue Fever
Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. It’s symptoms are marked by of chills and fever. Malaria is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Each year, there are approximately 350–500 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.
Contiki Asia tours travel through areas which are listed as malaria zones, by international health organisations. Advice on where malaria can be contracted changes constantly, so it is best that you contact a travel medicine professional about whether you’ll will require malaria medication for your tour. Malaria medications are known to have side effects, so it is best that you make an informed decision before using them.
The best way to avoid malaria is prevention, and the best way to do this is to avoid mosquito bites (which transmit malaria).
General preventative tips for avoiding mosquito-borne disease (malaria and dengue fever)
- Use a permethrin impregnated mosquito net
- Use mosquito repellent containing DEET
- Dress sensibly – wear long pants and sleeves at dawn and dusk
- Use mosquito coils or other anti-mosquito devices (e.g.., citronella) as a secondary control.
- If you are prone to being bitten, lean towards accommodation that can be sealed e.g air-con with no slatted windows nor open eaves.
- Watch out for rooms with bucket showers/toilets. These tend to have buckets of stagnant water (a mosquito’s beach resort) in the bathroom.
Dengue fever is another disease carried by mosquitoes which is on the increase and commonly contracted by travellers. Although cases usually do not require hospitalization, catching dengue would still ruin your holiday.
There is no immunization available for the dengue fever, and like malaria, the same tips for avoiding mosquitoes apply.
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I made it to Saigon, uh… I mean Ho Chi Minh City. The flight attendant repeatedly caught herself calling the city we had just arrived in by the “wrong” name. When one refers to the city as Saigon, it insinuates something negative. I don’t know what, something to do with communism. I will leave that part to the historians. Apparently it took half the flight crew to wake me on approach. Literally, I woke up and there were three flight attendants standing in front of me looking quite shocked. I mumbled something about San Francisco and put my seat upright. I fell back asleep on our taxi. I attribute my sober stupor to two days of flying to get here, but also to Cathay Pacific’s lie flat Business Class seats. At first glance they look small and cramped but there is plenty of space, privacy and comfort. More on those seats to come.
I return to the US via Tokyo/Narita Airport and JFK.
I am going to check out Saigon now.