Travel Vaccines Should be Booked Well In Advance

Anyone travelling to overseas destinations where vaccines are required should book appointments well in advance, particularly students attending camps and universities. “Ideally, this means that each traveller should call the Public Health Department Travel Health Clinic six to eight weeks prior to departure to make the appointment,” said Public Health Nurse Annie K. Price. “Vaccines are ineffective if given just before travel, and should be administered between 10 and 15 days in advance of the trip to ensure protection from viruses and other illnesses.”Additionally, the Public Health Department is reminding travellers planning to attend the Olympic Games from 5 to 21 August, or the Paralympic Games from 7 to 18 September, that they may require vaccination against yellow fever.Yellow fever is a serious, potentially fatal illness spread by day-biting Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and is a risk in many parts of Brazil, although the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the majority of games events are being held, is not currently considered to be in the risk region.At the same time, some football games will take place outside of Rio de Janeiro, at locations that include Belo Horizonte, the capital city Brasilia and the Amazon city of Manaus, where yellow fever is a threat. Malaria pills may also be required for travellers to Manaus. Zika, dengue and chikungunya are all spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, so travellers are encouraged to use insect repellent containing 30 to 50 per cent DEET to avoid being bitten. They should also cover up with long sleeves and long pants, and sleep under an intact-mosquito net (sprayed with repellent), if not in air-conditioned accommodation. There are no available vaccines to protect against these diseases.The World Health Organization has advised pregnant women to take extra precautions when travelling to areas with Zika outbreaks, including Brazil, as the virus is linked to microcephaly, a condition which causes birth defects.For further advice on overseas health concerns and to book vaccination appointments, call the Travel Health Clinic on 244-2648 or email publichealthdept@hsa.kyFor the official Ministry of Health web portal,

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