Hello everybody, this is my first post in this forum, just made an account. I'm going to be backpacking southeast Asia this fall/winter and I need to know what diseases and illnesses can be found in the countries that I will be travelling through, so that I can get any shots or medication(s) that I will need before I go.
Is there a good website that can give me this information? I need to make sure that I get my info. from a credible source because I want to be prepared!
The countries I will be travelling are: Thailand, The Phillippines, Laos, China, and Burma. I'm sorry but I do not yet know of what regions inside of these countries that I will be travelling, because I want to keep my options open and just go with the wind kinda style. Are there shots/medications that I could take that could keep me safe, relatively speaking, for all regions of said countries?
This will give you an excellent summary of the vaccinations you may need.
- Hep A+B
Some doctors will recommend Jap. B Encephalitis and Rabies, but you will not really need them. Note: if you get bitten by a bat - you should visit a doctor in due course... (although likelyhood is very low).
Malaria: some doctors will say you should take them, some says you should start taking them only if you fall sick.
You can also get malaria medicine locally (much cheaper), however in case it requires pre-scription from doctor in the country, it might be more difficult to buy them. Although some pharmacies will sell it to you under the counter.
No mosquito net is required - it's provided by the hotel where you need it.
Use mosquito repellent spray containing deet or you can buy cheap citronella locally - both very effective against mosquitos.
If you are travelling through dry season - mosquitos will not be a big headache.
Some doctors also recommend cholera vaccination (most likely oral), it gives a good protection against stomach illnesses, although such risk in south east asia isn't that bad as compared to india for instance.
My recommendation is to go to a dedicated travel clinic or an infectious diseases doctor.
They know far better than general family doctors about what recommendations are current.
The CDC has a web site with all the information as well, but getting the right advice from an expert is the best idea.
Having written that, I only partly agree with kichikacha's post above--
-Japanese encephalitis vaccine MAY be advisable depending on your itinerary and what time of year- it is advisable in rural areas, during the JE season June-Sept and for prolonged travel.
-meningococcal vaccine generally is not recommended specifically for travel to SE Asia.
-malaria prophylaxis is DEFINITELY advisable for your itinerary. And I would not count on getting your pills there- while cheaper, there is a higher possibility of counterfeit pills- This has been well described...
Don't take your health for granted- See a doctor who knows about these things.
And have a great trip!
Thanks for the advice, folks. Appreciated. I think I may actually just go to a travel clinic just to be on the safe side. Of course, it will cost me some extra cash... but whatever.
I've traveled to every country you've listed, save for the Philippines. I would recommend you visit the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) for details specific to each country's region where you are traveling to.
Keep in mind that while I received all of the shots that kichikacha listed, that was because I was traveling to regions requiring those shots (i.e rural areas with little to no modern hygeine facilities). If, for instance, you plan to stay in cities, and not so much in rural areas, you will likely be fine without taking any shots. You are traveling during the cool/dry months so mosquitos are fewer in number. I'd recommend drinking only bottled water, and picking up anti-malarial medication and anti-diarrheal meds as well. If you do these things, you will be fine.