URGENT Vaccines - GregW, Wocca, SamIam, anyone.....help!!

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean URGENT Vaccines - GregW, Wocca, SamIam, anyone.....help!!

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1. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 302 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Me and my mate have just come back form the travel clinic. We have come out thinking that they are just money grabbing knob heads. We have had so far Hepatitis A, Yellow fever, Typhoid, and Cholera.

The problem is that she put massive pressure on us to get Hep B and also rabies.
We are only backpacking and are not doing any work out there or anything.
Do we really need these 2 injections that will set us back £210 each ($400)?????
Also she said that malaria tablets will cost us roughly £800 for the 6 month trip we are there. We are only doing the Gringo trail up north ending in Mexico. Bit of central. To all those out there how much did you pay for malaria tablets and which ones did you get??

Any help is much appreciated, especially as we have little confidence in the clinic reccommended by the NHS which specialise in this.

Cheers, Tarik

2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

I believe I can be of some help....

Hepatitis A & B vaccinations are the most important when traveling through Mexico, CA & SA. They are recommending rabies as a precautionary vaccination since you are backpacking and may encounter an infected animal. I would pass on that one. Unless you have received rabies vaccine in the past, here (in the US) it is a series of three injections over a 6 week period to give you an adequate rabies titer. Best recommendation - don't pet the wild skunk.

Malaria preventatives are a very good idea. Again, since you are backpacking, chances are you will be moving through a moderate to high risk area at some point during your trip - even on the Gringo trail. Chloroquine is the drug of choice for all of Mexico and most of CA. Insect repellent is a must for your type of travel.

I would suggest getting the Hep. B vaccination, the prescription for Chloroquine, skip the rabies, don't pet the wildlife, get an adequate supply of insect repellent (using it faithfully), and be as sanitary as possible. (Avoid the street vendor food - hepatitis on a stick!)

Hope this is helpful...

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

I agree mainly with that Isadora said.

Get the Hep B (makes sense to have just in general life, not just for travel).

Skip the rabies, as long as you are never going to be out in the wilderness or working with animals. As long as you can get yourself to a hospital in a couple of hours after getting bitten, rabies isn't worth it.

As for Malaria, I have never used them in South or Central America, but obviously it depends very much on where you go. In Chile and Argentina, they aren't needed except in a few small places. I didn't use them in Mexico, but I was pretty much always along the beach. I didn't use them in Costa Rica either, but again stayed away from any swampy areas.

For Africa I am taking Malarone, which was paid for by my drug plan, so I don't know how much they cost. I understand they are expensive though.

Frankly, I would much prefer to take a medical professionals advice on the matter than mine, though. If you don't like the advice you have heard, you could try getting a second opinion.


4. Posted by AndrewGW (Full Member 42 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

If you want to use Cholorquine you can wait until you are in CA or Mexico and buy them a lot cheaper - personally I've lived in SE Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, India) and Latin America (Mexico and Panama) for the past 15 years without taking any malarial prophylaxis... having said that it was the worst year in Panama for Malaria in some years with over 4,000 cases reported - mostly in the outlying areas but it's still there. Be aware that Larium has been known to cause psycotic episodes - inlcuding suicidal tendences - I'd stay away from that one...

You don't say what countries you are hitting but certainly in Central America and Mexico you didn't need Yellow Fever...
Hep A and Hep B are a good idea for everyone... and Cholera is certainly around - if you are away from the cities especially.

When I was dealing with UK tourists in India they were being pumped with malaria drugs and other stuff and were all wondering why they were sick - stopped the drugs, plain diet for a day and 99% were right as rain. Problem is the UK Docs don't deal with tropical diseases often enough so they only go by what they read or are told (by the drug companies!!!)...

Rabies - never heard of anyone getting it even when bit in 17 years in 3rd world countries...

Hope this helps,


5. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 302 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

looks like the general concensus is that I should get Hep B. I am going to skip rabies too. Its true if you dont go near the animals and pet them then the risks are much lower of being scratched or bitten.

The new drug out is malarone for malaria by the sounds of it. Does anyone know if this does the same as Cholorquine or if you'll need Malarone for some areas and Chloroquine for others??

Cheers for the advice so far, its extremely helpful.

6. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 302 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

sorry i didnt say where I was going. Aregentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Cost R maybe honduras belize and then Mexico.

Although Malarone is expensive, the chemist said that you take it 2 days before and only 7 days after. So if I go into an infected area, and come out for a month before going somewhere that's infected again I will only have to take them for 1 week after leaving the infected area.

They quoted me 2 tablets 5.70.GBP One to be taken per day.
Expensive huh??? !!!!

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil) does appear to be the drug of choice for the countries you are planning to visit. It was designed for and has proved to be effective in preventing Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but is also effective against Chloroquine resistent strains.

My guess is... Your physician is prescribing Malarone for the above reasons. The dosage period is definitely shorter and that drug combination is more easily tolerated than many of the other medications. (It's two drug compounds in one pill.) Those are some of the reasons it's more expensive too.

Most of the drug research literature, etc. that I have read states that Malarone is a more effective preventative than Chloroquine and easier on your system. Doxycylcine and mefloquine have definite drawbacks. Check with your physician to verify his intent, but Malarone will probably be the only preventative you'll be prescribed.

Hope that helps...


8. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 302 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Thanks very much, that does put my mind at rest from all the help that I have received from people on this site. Thanks again,


9. Posted by loubylou (Respected Member 664 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

Malerone is very expensive. i know someone who paid £22 (or there abouts) for 11 days supply. It is supposed to be THE best anti-malarial you can get as you can take it for shorter periods. Apparently it's given to the British Army whenever they are posted in malarial areas. I think if you are going to malarial areas then it is worth paying out the extra to get peace of mind!

10. Posted by eve3981 (Full Member 34 posts) 16y Star this if you like it!

The quote for the anti malarial is very expensive. It must be for Malarone. It is considered the best. I use the cheaper drug Chloaquinnine (Avachlor). You can buy these over the counter at the chemist. I am going away to Central America for 3 weeks in Feb and have just bought mine. 2 tabs per week starting the week before I go, the 3 weeks I am away and 4 weeks after return. 20 tablets cost £2.60! This drug is perfectly adequate especially if you use insect repellant too.
As to the Rabies. This is only necessary if you will be more than 24 hours away from medical assistance. There is no cure for Rabies once infected but are you likely to be anywhere that would take you 24 hours to reach help. Unlike the UK, the Rabies vaccine is widely available in counrties where the disease in endemic. I was bitten by a monkey in India a few years ago and needed assistance out there which was no problem (and a lot cheaper). The hep B is well worth having and lasts 10 years, Thyphoid you can get via your GP practice,
I am very surprised that they said you require Yellow Fever and Cholera.
I would strongly suggest that you ask your own doctor,s practice nurse to find out what you actually require. Mine do this. I hope that you have a great trip.