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Travel Health Blog

July 6, 2019

Hajj & Umrah Health Requirements

Australians heading to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj & Umrah pilgrimages need to ensure that they are vaccinated prior to departure, to meet the requi

June 11, 2019

Travel Safety and Security

Safety and security is something that should always be in the back of every travellers mind, especially when travelling to countries that have a reput

May 21, 2019

Sporting Events – World Cup France and Rugby World Cup Japan

2019 will see two major sporting events being played out on the world stage, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

May 10, 2019

Travel Brazil

Brazil is a country blessed with it all – powdery white sandy beaches, breath-taking rainforests and thriving, bustling cities. It’s attractio

Saudi Arabia travel health advice and vaccinations

Hajj & Umrah Health Requirements

Australians heading to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj & Umrah pilgrimages need to ensure that they are vaccinated prior to departure, to meet the requirements of the Saudi government. These requirements can change from year to year and are aimed at disease prevention, not just in Saudi Arabia but also within countries pilgrims will be returning to. With massive numbers of people coming together from all over the world, the potential for disease spread is great and all travellers are advised to ensure their routine vaccinations are up to date and should consider Hepatitis A and B and typhoid vaccines. There are also Saudi vaccine requirements in order to attend.

In 2019 the requirements for those travelling directly from Australia to Saudi Arabia are:

  • Proof of vaccination against Meningococcal ACWY within the last 3-5 years (depending on which type of vaccine was last given), and no less than 10 days prior to arrival

Of note:

  • Yellow Fever vaccination – this is not required if travelling directly from Australia to Saudi Arabia
  • Yellow Fever vaccination – an international certificate is required if arriving from one of the  Yellow Fever risk countries in Africa or South America (discuss with your doctor if you have a complex itinerary and are not taking a direct flight)
  • Polio vaccination – proof of vaccination required if coming from a country where polio remains a risk (Australia is not one of them)
  • Influenza vaccination is recommended by the Saudi Health authorities for everyone

 

Travel health advice and vaccinations for Sri Lanka

Travel Safety and Security

Safety and security is something that should always be in the back of every travellers mind, especially when travelling to countries that have a reputation of being unsafe. I regularly travel with my children to these types of places and have a few rules that I employ that reduce the risks but still leave us being able to fully explore.

Below are some of  the tips that I recently used to plan a trip to South Africa:

Research Do your research on the safety concerns of your destination. The Smart Traveller website is a good place to start https://smartraveller.gov.au/resources/Pages/travel-advice-explained.aspx. Each country is designated an Advice Level, with lots of great safety tips that are destination specific. You can also register your trip which you should do  regardless of the destination (ie earthquakes in New Zealand /  a Tsunami in Japan).

Travel Insurance Don’t leave home without it!! Take out insurance with a reputable insurer, and read the PDS (especially if you have a pre-existing condition, are travelling to altitude or plan on snow skiing).

On Arrival Depending on your destination, you have often been travelling for a long time and are jet-lagged and exhausted. In higher-risk, unfamiliar countries I like to organise an airport transfer rather than trying to negotiate transport or taxis on arrival. I tend to stay at a nearby hotel for the first night to have a good sleep, and start my trip feeling refreshed.

Transport It is often safer to organise a local driver or use a tour company. Road rules are often different or appear non-existent! If you chose to hire a vehicle, make sure you have the appropriate license – especially on motorbikes. Your insurance will often be void if you don’t hold a motorbike license– in the case of an accident you will be left high and dry in an often sub-standard hospital. The RAC does International Drivers Licenses for about $30.

Local Laws These can often be very different to home, especially in relation to drugs, women rights and cultural expectation. Research before you arrive and behave accordingly. Know where the nearest Australian Embassy/Consulate is.

Crime Crime is often opportunistic, so reduce your risk by being sensible. Use money cards, rather than carry a lot of cash. Use a money belt or cross-shoulder bag. Be wary at isolated ATMs. Know what parts of town are high risk and avoid, or use a local guide. Avoid wandering around in isolated areas at night especially. Don’t leave your valuable belongings lying around in sight. Once again SmartTraveller can often pin-point destination specific problems.

Every traveller has a different level of risk they are willing take, and every destination has a different safely and security profile. Being informed and sensible is the key to a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Travel Safe!

Nadia (clinic nurse)

Travel Health and advice France

Sporting Events – World Cup France and Rugby World Cup Japan

2019 will see two major sporting events being played out on the world stage, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Heading to France to see the world’s best women compete for ultimate football glory? Here’s some information to know.

France has been one of the world’s leading tourist destination in terms of foreign visitors since the 1990s. The country’s appeal lies in it’s rich history, outstanding gastronomy and deep artistic heritage. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 runs from 7 June to 7 July 2019 and kicks off with the opening game with the host nation France competing against South Korea on 7 June in Paris. The month long event will see 52 matches play to determine the ultimate winner with the final match being played at Parc Olympique, in Lyon.

This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 consists of teams from:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China PR
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • USA

As needed with all travel, the following safety and health precautions should be considered prior and during travel to France.

Smart Traveller official advice on France is to exercise a high degree of caution due to the high threat of terrorist attack. There have been several major terrorist attacks in France. Since 2015, over 200 people have been killed and hundreds injured. Major sporting events can attract much higher levels of security due to the increase of large groups of spectators for games.  Demonstrations linked to the Yellow Vest movement may continue across France for some time, including in tourist areas. Protests mostly happen on Saturdays. Avoid all demonstrations as they may turn violent and disrupt traffic in some regions. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Health risks in France are broadly similar to those in Australia. There is currently a measles outbreak across the world so make sure your measles vaccinations are up to date prior to travel and consider the flu vaccine.

 

Rugby World Cup 2019 Japan

The 9thRugby World Cup is set to kick off in Tokyo Japan on Friday 20 September following the opening ceremony, when the host nation plays team Russia. A total of 48 matches will be played across the tournament which runs from 20 September through to Saturday 2 November. 2019 will see the tournament being held for the first time in Asia.

Japan is a stunning combination of ancient traditions, modern life and breath-taking nature and with the Rugby World Cup taking place around the country, spectators are set for an experience like no other.

This year’s Rugby World Cup features teams from:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • England
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Russia
  • Samoa
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Tonga
  • Uruguay
  • USA
  • Wales

As needed with all travel, the following safety and health precautions should be considered prior and during travel to Japan. Smart Traveller official advice on Japan is to exercise a normal degree of caution. Japan experiences earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and volcanic activity from time to time. The Japan Meteorological Agency provides up-to-date information in English on these issues as they arise.

The mosquito-borne disease Japanese encephalitis occurs in rural areas of Japan. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses in rural areas by getting vaccination prior to travel, Take measures to avoid insect bites, and ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof. – not likely to be recommended so best to leave this out.

There have also been a significant number of cases of measles and rubella in Japan in recent years. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel and definitely consider influenza vaccination.

Prior to setting off on your sporting fan adventures, make an appointment with the team at Travel Health Plus to make sure you are covered.

Travel Health Plus Travel Advice for Brazil

Travel Brazil

Brazil is a country blessed with it all – powdery white sandy beaches, breath-taking rainforests and thriving, bustling cities. It’s attractions extend from colonial towns that seem to be frozen in time, tropical islands and otherworldly landscapes of mountains and waterfalls, as well as a national culture that embraces good food, great music and fabulous festivals and parties.

Often described as one of the world’s most captivating countries, Brazil offers something for everyone. The official language spoken in Brazil is Portugese.

With so much to do and see here are some of the top places to visit while travelling throughout Brazil.

Pão de Açúcar
Seen from the peak of Pão de Açúcar, Rio is undoubtedly a Marvelous City or as the locals describe it – Cidade Maravilhosa. There are many good times to make the high ascent, but sunset on a clear day is the most rewarding described by many travellers. Two cable cars connect to the summit, 395m above Rio. At the top, the city unfolds beneath you, with stunning views of Corcovado mountain and Christ the Redeemer off to the west, and Copacabana Beach to the south. Be prepared for heavy crowds however and if possible, go first thing in the morning – and avoid going on cloudy days as this will impact the view and photo opportunities!

Parque Nacional do Iguaçu
Brazil’s second-oldest national park, it was created in 1939 and protects one of South America’s most magical and majestic sights, Iguaçu Falls. Iguaçu Falls form part of the largest waterfall system in the world. The 1200m-long Waterfall Trail (Trilha das Cataratas) is one of Brazil’s premier natural experiences with a series of islands cut the river into waterfalls along the path culminating in a magnificent display of nature at Garganta do Diabo (Devil’s Throat’).

Copacabana Beach
You can’t think of Brazil without thinking of the breathtaking Copacabana Beach. Extending for some 4km, the beach is a bustling mix of locals, tourists, music and food. On Copacabana Beach the locals separate themselves out into different sections depending on their activities, and is despite it’s tag as a tourist hotspot, a visit to Copacabana Beach must be ticked off the list.

Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
Standing atop the Corcovado (which means ‘hunchback’ in Portuguese), Cristo Redentor gazes out over the sweeping city of Rio. The mountain rises straight up from the city, and at night the brightly lit 38m-high statue is visible from nearly every part of the city. The most popular way to reach the statue is to take the red train that departs every 30 minutes, and takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the top.

The Amazon Rainforest
Named after female warriors in Greek mythology, the Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest. Covering much of northwestern Brazil, the Amazon offers a mystical experience for those who visit. The rivers are roads in the Amazon, and the slow pace of a boat trip is a uniquely Amazonian experience, coupled with the phenomenal scenery a short trip to the Amazon is a must when visiting Brazil.

Taking the plunge and booking that trip to Brazil?
Here’s some important things to consider. Brazil’s high season coincides with the northern-hemisphere winter. It’s a hot, festive time and you can expect higher prices and minimum stays (typically four nights) during Carnaval. It’s particularly busy in Rio and popular beach destinations all along the coast. If you’re headed to Brazil for Carnival then February is the time to be there.  You definitely won’t be alone though so prepare for the crowds.

Aside from July, which is a school-holiday month, you’ll find lower prices and mild temperatures in the south. July to September are good months to visit the Amazon or Pantanal. The weather is warm and dry along the coast, though it can be chilly in the south. Prices and crowds are average, though Easter week draws crowds and high prices.

The Brazilian climate can vary greatly from region to region. The coastal cities of Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador are hot for most of the year while plateau cities such as Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte are milder. Rainy seasons occur from January to April in the north, April to July in the northeast and November to March in the Rio and São Paulo areas.

The Australian Smart Traveller official advice is to exercise a high degree of caution in Brazil, due to high levels of serious and violent crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Avoid shanty towns (or ‘favelas’) in the big cities due to the very real threat of crime. If you are attacked or robbed, do not resist.

Brazil is currently experiencing a yellow fever outbreak. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes and is preventable by vaccination. In 2018, yellow fever cases were reported in the states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and the Federal District. Vaccinate yourself against yellow fever at least 10 days before travelling to Brazil. You may need to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you go to another country from Brazil or on arrival in Australia. A Yellow Fever vaccine is only available from government licensed clinics.

There is also widespread transmission of Zika virus in Brazil. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.

Brazil is currently also experiencing a measles outbreak. Measles vaccinations are readily available and need to be considered prior to travel to ensure you are covered.  Malaria is a high risk throughout Brazil. There is a current outbreak in Bahia. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever and chikungunya,) are also a risk to travellers, with a higher incidence during the wet seasons. Standard immunisations for food and water borne diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid and influenza are advisable.

Prior to setting off on your adventures, make an appointment with the team at Travel Health Plus to make sure you are covered.

travel advice Peru

Inca Trail – Peru

Inca Trail (Machu Picchu) – PeruThe Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the South America ́s and possibly one of the World ́s most famous hikes and journeys and is a bucket list adventure for so many travellers around the world. As the most famous hike in South America, the four-day Inca Trail is walked by thousands of people every year. The ancient trail laid by the Incas winds its way up and down and around the mountains, twisting over three Andean passes which have collectively led to the route being dubbed ‘the Inca Trail.’

On your Peruvian adventure you can follow Inca traditions from Lima to Cusco, journey through the heartland of the Sacred Valley, see the magnificent Ollantaytambo ruins before embarking on the ultimate adventure – trekking to Machu Picchu – all whilst getting closer to the secrets of this civilisation on an absolutely breath-taking adventure.

With an incredible mix of views – from snowy mountain peaks, breath-taking rivers and ranges, and stunning forests flush with orchids, trekking from one cliff-hugging pre-Columbian ruin to the next is simply a magical and unforgettable experience for anyone. Plus, the array of Inca archaeological sites are worthy of a visit of their own!

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is in fact a small part of a vast network of trails and roads built by the Incan Empire over 500 years ago. The Inca trails or Qhapaq Ñanare, which means network of trails, are estimated to have covered anywhere between 23,000km and 45,000km in distance and were integral in connecting the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, which ran from Colombia and Ecuador in the North, through Peru, Chile and parts of Argentina, and stretched into Brazil and Bolivia.

Planning your trip? There are few really important things to take note of.

Peru is a year-round destination for travellers, but the dry/winter season – between May and September – is generally the most popular time for trekking. This is when the nights are cooler and there are often wildflowers blooming along the trail.

Regardless of what time of year you decide to hike in Peru, waterproof clothing and hiking boots that are already worn in, thick hiking socks, warm and cool layers of clothing, sunscreen and a fleece are integral. The weather in the Andes can be unpredictable, so you’ll want to ensure you’re well-equipped for your trek.

 The rainy season runs from November to March, taking a waterproof clothing at any time of year will come in handy for hikes. The Inca Trail also closes every year in February for maintenance.

With any travel, but especially with this type of trip, travellers must consider the potential safety hazards that come with trekking. Many areas including Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Puno and the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca, are above 2,500m. Due to the high altitude the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be fatal so it’s important to get the right advice before you travel, know how to reduce your risk, what the symptoms are and what to do if you get them, including medication (Diamox). Also, the sun is unusually strong and it’s easy to get burnt. It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

As this trip involves a lot of walking to see the sites, and if you do the Inca trail, there’ll be a lot of strenuous hiking. The trip is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness but there are also a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Tetanus vaccine should also be up to date.

Food and water safety is also very important, particularly in order to prevent diarrhoeal illness when trekking. Hepatitis A and sometimes Typhoid vaccine are recommended for travel to Peru as well as carrying useful medications to treat gastro.

Insect-borne diseases are found in Peru, mainly in low lying areas. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) yellow fever is widespread in Peru. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes and it is preventable by vaccination. On return to Australia, you’ll need to show a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia if you’ve visited Peru in the previous six days.

 There is also widespread transmission of Zika virus in parts of Peru. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.

Malaria, dengue fever and other insect-borne diseases occur in parts of the country (and Dengue fever is particularly common in and around Iquitos)

Prior to setting off on your adventures, make an appointment with the team at Travel Health Plus to make sure you are covered.

Travel Health Plus - travel health advice and vaccinations for South America

Travelling to Altitude

Altitude problems can be a significant issue for many popular travel destinations. At the very least it can ruin the first few days of your trip and at the more serious end of the spectrum, can be life threatening.

Altitude sickness can occur when travelling to as low as 2,700m above sea level. Travellers to Mexico City, Quito, Bogota or Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for example may find themselves feeling nauseated and tired, with headaches common. There is moderate risk if going above 3000m, with high risk of more severe problems if ascending by more than 300m per day once above this level. Studies show that as many as 30% of people will experience altitude sickness when travelling to Cusco from sea level and more than 40% if travelling to La Paz where the airport travellers fly into, is already at 4,200m.

Altitude sickness can largely be prevented by planning the trip with sufficient time for acclimatisation or having an itinerary that includes destinations at lower altitude e.g. Lima to Cusco via Arequipa, which is at 2,500m. Risk is reduced if people are well hydrated and healthy. Sleeping pills and alcohol should be avoided.

Unfortunately however, altitude sickness is completely unpredictable- it doesn’t matter how old or what sex you are and being fit doesn’t help. Diamox (a diuretic which makes you pass more urine) can help you to acclimatise by making you breathe faster. It is safe for most people, but not those who have an allergy to sulphur.

If you are planning a trip where there is a much higher risk of altitude sickness, such as climbing Kilimanjaro or trekking in Nepal, it is important to know how altitude
problems will be managed by your tour group (if at all). Are you travelling to an altitude where Diamox is needed? Can treatment be provided if you experience symptoms? Does the organisation have access to an altitude bag and will they arrange descent safely? – just some of the things you should be considering! It’s also important to make sure your travel insurance covers altitude rescue. Being taken off a mountain by helicopter is extremely expensive and not covered under many policies.

Finally – people may not recognise that they have altitude sickness. Early signs can be irritability followed by slurred speech and then collapse – Grumble, Mumble Stumble!
If in doubt – go down……..

Dr John Terry

Safe Drinking Water

One of your main concerns when travelling should be access to safe drinking water. After all, diarrhoea is the most common illness experienced by travellers in developing countries. There are lots of different options for making water safe to drink, some more reliable and easier to use than others.

Generally speaking there are 3 kinds of bugs that can make you sick – viruses which are tiny and can slip through filters, bacteria which are bigger and usually susceptible to chemical treatments like iodine and chlorine and ultraviolet light; and parasites which are bigger again, often resistant to chemical treatment but can be filtered. And then there are concerns about chemicals and heavy metals ……

Most people rely on bottled water when travelling. This is usually safe, especially if you break the seal yourself (to ensure no one has refilled the bottle with tap water), however this can add up to a lot of plastic waste. Boiling is generally a good way of killing bugs, but requires fuel, and this is often a scarce resource and not always a practical technique.

The best options for making your own water safe generally combine more than one purification method. A little over 20 years ago I spent a year travelling in Asia, and had a really good device – it was a pump attached to a cartridge out of which came 2 silicon tubes. One had an acorn on the end that I would drop in a water source, the other had an attachment that screwed onto the top of a one litre Nalgene bottle. When I pumped away, water would be drawn through a filter impregnated with iodine and then through a carbon filter and into my drinking bottle. It was a cutting edge device at the time but also a bit tedious and bulky. Back then in the mid-90s it cost around $200, and came in a bag that I carried everywhere in my pack.

Now there are much better alternatives which are easier to use and cheaper. Probably the best is the Fill2Pure bottle. This is a soft plastic 800ml bottle with a compact 3 in 1 filter built into it. Once you fill the bottle with water from a tap or stream (anywhere!) the water passes over iodine beads, through a mesh filter and then another carbon filter. No waiting, no pumping, no moving parts. It’s good for 400 to 500 litres until the filter eventually clogs up, and costs only a little over $40. I wish I’d had one back then!

An alternative is the Go Fresh Straw which uses microfiltration to sift organisms out of the water. Flow rates are a bit slower and it doesn’t remove chemicals that the Fill2Pure bottle does, but it’s very compact and is ideal as a backup option when travelling as it takes up very little space and costs only $29.95.

Another option is the Steripen, a battery powered device which makes water safe with ultra violet light. Water is safe to drink for up to 24 hours after being treated. This device retails at $82.70 which is a bit more expensive than its alternatives but if someone hands you something to drink and you are concerned about it being safe from bugs, the Steripen is a quick and easy way to purify its contents.

So, whilst bottled water is safe and readily available when travelling, there are now some very cost effective alternatives that will help deal with the mounting issue of plastic waste in the developing world. And they’re pretty affordable too!                            

 

Dr Aidan Perse

planning vaccinations for a trip

Tropical Cyclone Idai – Aftermath

On 15th March 2019 this huge storm crossed land in central Mozambique near Beira City. Malawi and Eastern Zimbabwe were also severely affected. Travellers should be aware that apart from huge disruption to infrastructure and immediate loss of life, there are delayed infectious disease outbreaks that occur after natural disasters. These can often be predicted based on the nature and extent of the disaster, time of year and background infectious diseases occurring in the countries affected. For instance, all these countries have high background rates of typhoid and malaria, as well as being prone to intermittent cholera outbreaks. Typhoid and cholera are both diseases that thrive in areas of poverty and poor sanitation – obviously with extensive flooding there is a loss of safe drinking water and the local population, many of whom are already weak and malnourished, are more prone to contracting these food and waterborne diseases. Mosquito breeding also increases after extensive flooding, leading to an increased risk of malaria.
International organisations such as WHO ( World Health Organisation), are attempting to scale up a massive relief effort, including mass cholera vaccination of local populations, cholera treatment centres and the provision of mosquito nets to sleep under.
Any traveller to these regions in the wake of the disaster should seek advice from a travel health practitioner (well ahead of travel if possible), as well as keep up to date with the latest news and developments.

Vietnam travel vaccination

Travel – Vietnam

A naturally beautiful country coupled with rich cultural experiences, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling, and a must visit for all travellers. Vietnam has it all – and then some!

Holidays to Vietnam are growing increasingly popular as the country welcomes visitors from all around the globe. The country bordered by China, Laos and Cambodia boasts beautiful scenery and some of Asia’s most welcoming hospitality and experiences.
From the breath-taking green rice fields to cosmopolitan cities, Vietnam will leave you awestruck at every turn. Often described as sensory overload in the most positive of ways! Travelling through the country you will notice that the north and south are like apple and oranges and a trek from north to south of the country is a visual and sensory feast.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, boasts the beauty and influence of France including Parisian facades, and cafes – a little taste of France in South-East Asia. Hanoi is a complex city of sights, sounds and flavours, and sums up the charm that is Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, rivals big cities such as Bangkok and Singapore with its energy.

Vietnamese culture is complex, diverse and rich. Influences stemming from indigenous history, as well as Chinese influences in the north to Hindu origins found in the south. And of course, it’s impossible to forget the impact of the French colonial period creating a wonderful melting pot of people, food and experiences.

Often described as a global culinary superpower, anyone that has travelled to Vietnam would not refute the delicious diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese cooking and food experiences are often the main draw card for travellers to visit the country.  With the rich influence of surrounding countries and its French history, travellers can experience wonderful food adventures from street food markets, cooking classes and world class restaurant experiences.
Flights to Vietnam from Australia are both frequent and relatively inexpensive, with most of the surrounding countries linked by direct routes.  Vietnam is considered a relatively safe destination for Australian tourists, however travel precautions like with any travel are recommended, and all tourists should take out adequate travel insurance. In preparation for travels to Vietnam it’s important to note the possible health risks associated with travelling through the country. There are on-going cases of the transmission of the Zika virus, and the Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel.
As with travel in most Asian developing countries, standard precautions with food and drink are recommended, including opting for cooked meals over salads and avoiding tapwater and ice. Diarrhoeal illnesses are the commonest ailments to affect travellers and carrying treatment to manage these is recommended. Immunisation against serious food and water borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid is also a good idea.

Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis also occur. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is registered and available in Australia, and may be recommended for some itineraries. Malaria is also a risk in some remote mountainous areas.

Rabies is also found in Vietnam, and is most commonly transmitted through dog bites. It is a potentially fatal viral disease that can be found in dogs, monkeys, bats and other mammals. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog, monkey or other mammal in Vietnam, seek urgent medical attention.

When travelling Vietnam it’s also important to note that The standard of medical facilities and care varies, especially once you have left the major cities.

When planning your trip to Vietnam, the high season falls between July and August, and you can expect to pay premium pricing for travel. All of the country experiences hot and humid weather during this time, with the summer monsoon bringing regular downpours.

The low Season fall between April and June and then again September to November and can be a great time to tour the entire country. During this time typhoons can affect the central and northern coasts.

measles vaccination

WA Health Department launch a free adult measles program

As a designated travel clinic we welcome the health department’s decision today to make MMR vaccine free for adults.
We have seen an emerging number of cases over the last few years, particularly in travellers, and have written about many outbreaks both overseas and at home. It is one of our main priorities when we advise travellers about their health. As immunisation rates are declining globally, for a number of reasons, we are seeing a re-emergence of the illness.
Those born since 1966 and 1984 are the most at risk of not being fully protected against measles. From today the health department in WA is making a free booster available to anyone over age 20 to mid 50’s.
If there is a good response from the general public we should see less outbreaks in the future, which will protect those most vulnerable to the disease including newborn children.

For more information:

Measles

https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2019/03/Free-measles-vaccinations-for-adults.aspx

Dr David Rutherford

Director