On November 2nd 2018 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) changed its recommendations for international travel. Before taking off on your next flight, here’s some important information about some commonly contracted infections you should know about ahead of your travel plans.
The rates of Hepatitis A have steadily decreased since a vaccine was first introduced in 1995. Unfortunately, 2018 has seen a reversal in this positive trend. Hepatitis A and Measles both have no known cure but are easily preventable with proper vaccination. This is particularly important because Hepatitis A and Measles are two of the most commonly contracted disease when travelling abroad.
The committee at the CDC published the following updates to its recommendations:
- Hepatitis A vaccination is now recommended to be administered as post-exposure prophylaxis to anyone over the age of 12 months. Meaning, the vaccine is beneficial even after you have been exposed to the Hepatitis virus.
- The simultaneous administration of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine with the Hepatitis A vaccine is now recommended for infants aged 6-12 months prior to international travel.
- Hepatitis A vaccine should be considered for anyone with special risk factors for Hepatitis A and anyone who has an increased risk of developing severe complications if infected.
- The CDC now covers Hepatitis A vaccines for all homeless people across the US.
- Healthy people between the ages of 1 and 40 years planning to travel to an area with high or intermediate Hepatitis A rates should receive the first dose of vaccine as soon as travel is considered. Following the first dose, the second should be administered prior to travel according to the routine schedule.
The hepatitis virus can be transmitted via several routes such as person-to-person contact, contaminated water or ice, shellfish harvested from sewage contaminated water, or other potentially contaminated foods. Interestingly, the Hepatitis A virus is most contagious in the two weeks prior to the beginning of any symptoms or clinical signs of the infection. Infants and children can even remain contagious for up to 6 months following the initial infection.
Children younger than 6 years of age may not experience any symptoms after becoming infected, making vaccination even more important in younger patients. If symptoms do develop, they can appear abruptly and consist of the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Please be safe and take the necessary precautions when travelling. Tap Medical encourages you to ask you family doctor or pharmacist about which vaccines you or your family members may require before travel.
PS: Check out our Prevention Updates HERE!