It can be overwhelming to navigate your to-dos before an international trip. Don’t let health preparations fall off of your list.
To minimize your risk of becoming seriously ill during international travel, it is important to find out which immunizations may be required or recommended for visiting different regions of the world.
Peter Veldkamp, MD, director of Travel Health at the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases, recommends scheduling a medical consultation with your physician four to six weeks before an international trip. Your physician can help you determine which vaccines may be necessary based on your travel itinerary, including the need for malaria prophylaxis, and can provide guidance on food and water safety tips, including information on the best agents to manage and/or treat traveler’s diarrhea.
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are divided into three categories: routine, recommended, and required. The yellow fever vaccination is the only vaccine required by International Health Regulations specifically for travel to certain parts of Africa and South America.
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Routine Vaccinations for Travel
Routine vaccinations may include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningitis (Meningococcal)
- Tetanus Booster
Recommended Vaccinations for Travel
Recommended vaccinations may include:
While rabies is prevalent throughout many countries of the world, the vaccine often is recommended for travel to Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
This vaccine is recommended for travel throughout most of Asia and the western Pacific regions, especially during high-risk times of the year.
The CDC recommends travelers headed to developing countries, where exposure to contaminated food or water is likely, consider receiving the typhoid vaccine. This includes travel to parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where travelers have been especially at risk. Travelers visiting friends and family in these regions are at a higher risk.
Travelers going to certain parts of Africa and Asia may be at risk for polio. Ask your physician if you are visiting countries including, but not limited to, Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Guinea, Laos, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ukraine.
Visit Travel Health at the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases for complete destination-specific recommendations.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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If you have a disease caused by bacteria, fungi, parasite, or virus, the UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases can help. Our team of experts is specially trained in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, including of HIV-AIDs, postsurgical and transplant infections, illnesses caused by international travel, and more. We research infectious diseases and participate in clinical trials to learn more and develop better treatment and prevention methods. Visit our website to find an expert near you.