Do You Need Vaccinations Before Traveling Abroad?
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
International travelers should make sure that these vaccinations are up to date and that no boosters are required, since many conditions which are rare in the U.S. due to immunity in the general population may be more common in other countries.
"Recommended" vaccinations are given to protect travelers from illnesses that occur routinely in other parts of the world. Doctors determine which vaccines are recommended for international travel on an individual basis, taking into consideration your destination, whether you will be spending time in rural areas, the season of the year you are traveling, your age, your overall health status, and your immunization history.
Some examples of vaccines that may be recommended for international travelers (remember you may need more, fewer, or different vaccinations, depending on your individual circumstances) include the following:
- Hepatitis A: This
condition is spread by person-to-person contact, through contaminated water,
shellfish harvested in contaminated water, or other food products contaminated
during preparation or handling. Hepatitis A may be contracted where sanitation
conditions may be lacking.
- Rabies: Rabies virus is
endemic in dogs in many countries throughout the world, including, but not
limited to, parts of Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, China, the Philippines, Sri
Lanka, and Indonesia.
- Typhoid fever: This condition may be contracted in many areas of the world through contaminated drinking water or food or by consuming food or beverages that have been handled by an infected person.