Monday, February 9, 2009

Tanzania Travel Immunizations

Our trip to Tanzania is exactly 6 months away and some of the recommended shots need to be given six months out.

There are no absolute immunization requirements for travel to Tanzania, however, there are definite recommendations. These include:

1. Yellow Fever vaccine. This vaccine is available ONLY at Authorized Yellow Fever Vaccination Clinics.
A list of Kansas City area clinics is here:

2. Polio booster, even for those who have received the primary series.

3. Hepatitis A vaccine. This is a two shot series that should be give at least 6 months apart. One shot is reported to offer between 90% and 95% protection.

4. Hepatitis B vaccine. This is a THREE shot series generally, given at 0 months, 1 month, and 6 months.

In addition to those listed, recommendations include up-to-date routine immunizations. These are age dependent.

MMR - Young people who have not had a second booster of Measles-Mumps-Rubella, (those born after 1956) or anyone who has not had these diseases should consult with his physician regarding this vaccine.

A current Tetanus-diphtheria should be obtained. For those within the correct age group (between 10 years and 65 years of age) should receive ONE booster that includes the pertussis component (Tdap). This can be given as soon as two years after a current Td booster.

All those 50 and older should receive a Pneumococcal vaccine.

Everyone should consider a Meningococcal vaccine (Menactra).

Typhoid and Rabies vaccine are listed on the CDC data page, but would consider these only if they are recommended by the local facility in Tanzania. Typhoid is passed mainly by tainted water, and rabies is transmitted exclusively by direct contact with rabid animals.

PREVENTATIVE MEDICATION IS NEEDED AGAINST MALARIA. DO NOT TRAVEL TO AFRICA WITHOUT PROPHYLAXIS (PROTECTION) AGAINST MALARIA. Acceptable medications include Doxycycline, Malarone, and Mefloquin (Mefloquin is not recommended by Dr Powell). Doxycycline is by far the least expensive medication, but some patients have difficulties with stomach upset when taking this medication.

Please consult with your personal physician or a specialist in travel medicine to finalize your travel regimen and immunization schedule.

Thank you to Dr. Charles Powell for sharing this information.

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