• Vaccination and Endemic Diseases

    Vaccinations and Endemic Diseases

    While it is a good idea to consult your doctor about vaccinations before you leave, it may also be worthwhile finding a clinic which specialises in travel medicine. They will undoubtedly have the most accurate and up to date information and will be able to advise on the necessary immunisations. Where you go will dictate which of these immunisations you will need, but here is a list of the most common endemic diseases and their vaccinations.

    Hepatitis A

    This is caused by a protein based water-borne virus, which causes inflammation of the liver. It causes a fever, nausea and vomiting, and is especially contagious during the incubation period. Doctors will recommend an immunisation against it before heading up the mountain. The vaccine is likely to be Havrix and this provides up to 10 years protection.

    Hepatitis B

    Contracted via unprotected sex or infected blood, hepatitis B is possible to avoid, but a vaccination is available.

    Meningitis

    Meningococcal meningitis is often fatal and is easily passed on by saliva, hence its nickname, ‘the kissing disease.’ Its vaccination is around 90% effective and lasts for up to 3 years.

    Cholera

    Although travellers are at a risk of contracting the water-borne disease cholera, the risk is low and the side effects of the vaccine are often unpleasant.

    Typhoid

    This is very common in places like Nepal. There are a variety of vaccines to choose from and it is advisable to get one.

    Tetanus-Diptheria

    This vaccine protects against both tetanus and diphtheria, and is recommended if you have not received the booster in the last 10 years. Most doctors will advise the booster for any prolonged length of travel.

    Polio

    Often administered with the above, a series of vaccinations is recommended if not administered in childhood. It is a good idea to get a booster if you have not had one in adulthood. Check with your doctor.

    Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

    A vaccination may be needed if you did not have these diseases (or the vaccinations) as a child.

    Japanese Encephalitis B

    This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and outbreaks are common in parts of Asia. Doctors generally advise this for people working in affected areas, so this vaccination is not essential.

    Rabies

    Rabies is a lethal virus, transmitted through the saliva of a bite from an infected animal, such as a dog. Bites are not common but it is always best to be protected when travelling in an area where this is likely. If a non-immunised person is bitten then there is a course of injections which will stop rabies. However, it should be administered within a week of the bite, which may be tricky in a
    mountain environment.

    Malaria

    Malaria is carried by mosquitoes, in particular the Anopheles mosquitoes. They live up to around 1000m so at high altitude the risk is low. The general course of treatment is preventative tablets, but these have nasty side effects so it is best to consult with your doctor as to whether it is worth taking these, depending on your itinerary.