It is not only in this country that the temperatures are gradually getting warmer; faraway places are also beckoning as holiday destinations. But travel vaccinations are indispensable for unadulterated holiday enjoyment. Because vaccinations are the most effective protection against pathogens.
Cholera, yellow fever, TBE, hepatitis A and B, malaria – the list of diseases lurking not only in faraway countries sounds threatening. Cholera, for example, is a serious intestinal disease. Food that is faecally contaminated or infected drinking water can transmit the pathogens. The resulting sudden onset of diarrhoea can be life-threatening because it leads to high fluid losses within a short period of time. The cholera vaccination is an oral vaccination. For adults and children older than six years, one dose is necessary twice in a period of one to six weeks. The vaccination for children aged two to six years includes three administrations.
Entry requirements yellow fever
A yellow fever vaccination may even be a must. This is because some countries in Africa and South America require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. The tropical disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. In case of complications, this disease can also be fatal.
Here, a single vaccination can offer safe protection, which takes effect ten days after administration.
Contaminated food can be the carrier of hepatitis A. For this form of jaundice, complete vaccination protection is possible for ten years. Combination vaccines that offer protection against typhoid and hepatitis B at the same time are also useful.
A vaccination against malaria does not yet exist. But travellers to malaria areas can prevent it with malaria prophylaxis, i.e. chemoprophylaxis with medication. This prevents the outbreak of the disease. For some countries, the “standby” variant is also advisable. Travellers do not take the prophylaxis before the start of the journey, but only have the medication with them and as soon as symptoms such as headaches, aching limbs or fever appear, the medication should be taken.
Of course, it is best if it does not come to that and there is effective protection against the bite of the transmitting Anopheles mosquito. Because without a bite, there is no infection. Therefore, anti-mosquito repellents and mosquito nets are highly recommended companions when travelling to malaria areas.
Vaccinations also for domestic areas
“It doesn’t always have to be tropical diseases, even in this country a lack of vaccination protection can have fatal consequences,” explains internist Dr Frank Beekmann from the Ambulaten Centrum Berlin in Friedrichshain. This is the case with early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME). This is a viral infection that is transmitted by infected ticks.
The TBE virus is related to the pathogens of dengue and yellow fever. The risk of infection is greatest between March and October. After infection, those affected experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and aching limbs. After a short period without symptoms, fever usually returns. The meninges, brain and, as a complication, even the spinal cord can become inflamed. In Germany, certain areas are considered risk zones, and the Robert Koch Institute always provides up-to-date information on these.
Your family doctor can give you comprehensive advice on all questions concerning vaccinations and travel vaccinations.