Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's do the vaccine rundown too.

(not to be confused with a purification rundown.)

All the rules for vaccines seem pretty simple. So why is there no site on the CDC or something where you can go and answer a few questions and it'll tell you all the vaccines you need to get? Lacking such a thing, I'll try to piece together relevant bits myself.

Countries I plan might have a remote chance of visiting: Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Australia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan.

Diphtheria: had a Tdap booster in 2008, it's good for 10 years.
Hepatitis A: had 2 doses of this in 2008-2009, set for life.
Hepatitis B: had 3 doses of this in 2001-2002, I'm set for life.
Influenza: this is the flu. I'll skip it.
Japanese Encephalitis: this is supposedly worth considering. However, "only 5 cases among Americans traveling or working in Asia have been reported since 1981." The only countries I'm going to where it's prevalent are India and Indonesia. In Indonesia, I'd only be going to Sumatra and/or Borneo, and "human cases recognized in Bali and Java only." In India, it's more of an issue, but I'll be in high places and Northern India mostly. I don't plan to stay in South India for more than a month, and I also don't plan to go to rural/farming regions. Also, it costs $300-600 and takes 3 shots. Side effects are relatively mild, although about 1 in 10 get headaches/fever/vomiting level reactions. 
Malaria: there is no vaccine. According to this map, it's in a lot of places I'm going, and almost always Chloroquine-resistant. There are many drugs; I'll have to take Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone), Doxycycline, or Mefloquine (Lariam). Sounds like Malarone is nice, weekly, and expensive; Doxycycline is cheap and also good, and Mefloquine is the worst of the bunch (although who knows, the crazy dreams might be fun...) I guess I'll take Malarone or Doxycycline. I've had good luck with Malarone before.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella: had the second dose in 1998, I'm okay here.
Meningococcal: I don't plan to live in a dorm or have several medical conditions (I think), so I'm set here.
Pertussis (whooping cough): had a Tdap booster in 2008, I'm set for life.
Polio: had a bunch of shots for this as a baby, then a booster in 2009 which means I'm fine here.
Rabies: I've always heard that you can get pre-vaccinated, but it's 3 shots, many hundreds of dollars, and you still need urgent care if you're bit. Better just to avoid animals.
Tetanus: had a Tdap booster in 2008, it's good for 10 years.
Typhoid: had a series of 4 pills over 7 days in January 2008, I'm good until January 2013.
Varicella (chickenpox): had this as a child, I'm fine.
Yellow Fever: vaccine not required or recommended. (seems to be an African/South American affliction.)

Whew! I think I'm in good shape. Just the malaria pills.

EDIT: For future reference, this is useful too, to tell relative risks of various diseases: WHO Global Burden of Disease project.

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