I Got Shot(s): International Immunizations – *Video* – Global Outings™

needle_and_syringeNews reports of the unexpected death of Andy Irons due to dengue fever got me thinking. (Although his death is now being investigated as a methadone overdose.)

I began thinking about contracting diseases abroad. You know, diseases that you can’t really catch here in the U.S., like yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria.

I decided to take a look at my International Certification of Vaccination and double check the dates on my immunizations. And it was a good thing I did too. Here’s a quick run down.

International Immuizations

  • MMR (Mumps, measles and rubella, or otherwise known as German Measles) is a series of 3 shots that are good for life. I’m in the clear.
  • Hep A (series of 2) and Hep B (series of 3) are also good for life, but unfortunately it seems that there was too large a time span between the series and therefore my shots are probably ineffective. A re-do was in order. First series, check.
  • Yellow Fever is good for 10 years. I’m in the clear until 2014.
  • Typhoid is good for 5 years. I’m good to go until 2012.
  • Polio is good for 10 years. I was due for another. Check.
  • Tetanus is also good for 10 years. I was due for another as well. Check.
  • Malaria you take pills for at least 2 weeks before the trip, during the trip and 4 weeks after the trip. But for people like me who travel for months at a time, we don’t take the pills because of the negative side effects of long-term use. I travel with my own mosquito net. Check.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Before traveling abroad, it’s always best to check out the CDC web site for the recommended shots for your travel destinations. Be sure and start the process at least 4-6 weeks before your departure date (I started mine about 2 months early), to be sure you have enough time if a full series is needed.

Required Vaccinations

The only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is the yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Meningococcal vaccination is required by the government of Saudi Arabia for annual travel during the Hajj.

Dengue Fever: More Info

Dengue Fever, also known as breakbone fever, is contracted by mosquitoes that usually bite at dusk and dawn and is most prevalent in Central America, South / Southeast Asia and part of Sub-Saharan Africa.

There is no vaccine for dengue fever. Symptoms include fever with severe headache, muscle and joint pains. It is often accompanied by a rash of bright red spots that usually appear first on lower limbs and the chest. Sometimes you puke up coffee-grounds-like congealed blood. There is no cure for dengue, only treatment.

The WHO says some 2.5 billion people, two-fifths of the world’s population, are now at risk from dengue and estimates that there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries.

More Reflection

Now the above was a little heavy, but I thought the information important enough to share. As a reward for reading to the end of the article (besides maybe living a little longer), here’s a video of local boy Andy Irons surfing. No matter how it happened, 32 is way too young to die.

Watch this video of Hawaii’s Andy Irons


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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 and is filed under Travel Favorites.

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