Travel Advice & Vaccinations

Travel Advice, Medicines, & Vaccinations

Balmoral Medical Practice offers a full range of travel medicines & vaccinations. Travellers to a number of different countries, should book a long consultation (30 minutes) to complete the comprehensive advice, medication scripts, vaccinations, and international vaccination certificates.

When to see your doctor?

Travellers should visit their doctor at least 4-10 weeks before travel, for advice about which vaccinations may be required.

Some vaccinations are required to be given over a specific time frame (e.g. 3 or 6 months) and completed within a certain timeframe before departure. This is to allow the body to build antibody immunity prior to arrival in the foreign country. If you are unsure when to book an appointment, please look at our link (bottom of homepage) for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to learn more information about the country in which you plan to travel, and the relevant disease risk.

Know what vaccine you need?

Please inform reception staff when making an appointment if you know you need a specific vaccination that requires pre-ordering eg. rabies vaccine. Please note that specific costs may apply for different vaccinations and immunisations.

See the Australian Health Department’s hints for travellers here for more information.

Purpose of immunisation.

To protect against potential serious disease for at-risk travellers.

To protect countries from importation of disease, for example the yellow fever virus. This is the basis for country immunisation requirements.

Common travel vaccinations

Areas of the world, where travel vaccinations are recommended*

travel-vaccinations

Hepatitis A

Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas of poor or uncertain hygiene, including all developing countries. The risk of infection is high.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is the most contagious common blood-borne virus. Immunisation is recommended for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults, long term travellers to regions of high prevalence, and short term travellers who may be at risk. The World Health Organisation recommends the vaccine be considered for virtually all travellers to highly endemic regions.

Malaria

See your doctor to discuss current malaria protection. Risk exists in most tropical areas, and resistance to antimalarials varies from region to region.

Rabies

All travellers, whether previously immunised or not, should obtain prompt wound care and immunisation after bites, scratches or licks from mammals which break the skin, or occur on wounds or involve the mouth, eyes or other moist body surfaces. Cyclists travelling in south east Asia are at higher risk from dogs and monkeys.

Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) is a virus (related to rabies) that can be transmitted from bats to humans, causing serious illness and death. The virus was first identified in 1996 and has been found in four kinds of flying foxes/fruit bats and one species of insect-eating microbat. Evidence of previous infection has been found in blood tests from a number of other bat species. It is therefore assumed that any bat in Australia could potentially carry the virus. The behaviour or appearance of a bat is not an accurate guide to whether it is carrying the virus. Since November 1996, three people have died as a result of ABLV infection after being bitten or scratched by bats. ABLV is one of twelve types of lyssavirus which are found around the world. ABLV is the only one of these known to occur in Australia. ABLV is closely related but not identical to rabies virus, which causes a serious and usually fatal disease in humans.

A person who gets a bat bite or scratch should receive urgent medical attention, immunoglobulin therapy, and infectious disease intervention.

Routine Immunisations

All travellers should be up-to-date with routinely recommended immunisations. For children and adolescents, this includes diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae type b, polio, measles/mumps/rubella, meningococcal C, varicella and pneumococcal vaccines. For older adults and those with chronic illnesses, this includes influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. All travellers should be immune to diphtheria, tetanus, measles and polio.

Tuberculosis

Vaccination is generally recommended for children aged < 5 years who will be living in developing countries for more than 3 months. There is less evidence of the benefit of vaccination in older children, although consideration should be given to children aged less than 16 years who may be living for long periods in high-risk countries. A mantoux skin prick test is required initially, as vaccination can cause skin ulceration, and is only given to certain patients. Dr Manovel is an accredited tuberculosis vaccinator, and can advise about the need for tuberculosis vaccination in your specific circumstances.

Typhoid Fever

Vaccination is recommended for all travel to areas of poor hygiene and unclean water, including all developing countries for more than brief periods.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever occurs in a limited number of countries, but there are specific vaccination requirements to travel through these countries. The vaccine itself carries some risk, and this should be discussed with your doctor well in advance of travel.

References

1) World Health Organization. International Travel and Health 2005. Geneva

2) Centres for Disease Control & Prevention. The Yellow Book. Health Information for International Travel. 2005/2006

Disclaimer

This information does not constitute personalised medical advice, and is for information purposes only. If considering overseas travel please discuss your itinerary with your doctor for assessment of current risk and relevant medical advice.