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Staying Healthy in Vietnam

Pre-travel preparation will help protect your health while you are away. We have prepared a summary of major health risks you may face while travelling.

  • Check your basic immunisations such as Tetanus and Diptheria are up-to-date.
  • Discuss with a Travel Doctor specialist whether Hepatitus A and Typhoid should be considered.

We advise you consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess these risks in relation to your medical history and your travel plans.

Hepatitis A This is a viral disease of the liver which is transmitted through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. it is the most common vaccine preventable disease that occurs in travellers to less developed areas of the world. It is strongly recommended for travel Vietnam.
Hepatitis B This is a viral disease of the liver that is transmitted via blood, blood products or bodily fluids. It is vaccine preventable and now part of the childhood immunisation schedule. Many adults may have missed this important vaccine and travel is a good reason to get up-to-date.
Typhoid Typhoid Fever is caused by a bacteria found in contaminated food and water. It is endemic in the developing world and vaccination is recommended for travellers to areas where environmental sanitation and personal hygiene may be poor.
Tetanus, Whooping Cough and Diphtheria

Tetanus is caused by a toxin released by a common dust or soil bacteria which enters the body through a wound.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection of the throat and occasionally the skin. It is found world wide and is transmitted from person-to-person by coughing and sneezing.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) is a highly infectuous respiratory infection responsible for 300,000 deaths annually, mainly in children.

Because many adults no longer have immunity from childhood immunisation it is advised that travellers to less developed countries have a tetanus, dihtheria and pertussis booster.

Measles, Mumps & Rubella Childhood immunisation coverage in many developing countries is not good. As such, travellers under the age of 40 years should have their MMR immunisation completed. Those over the age of 40 years are most likely to have long term immunity from previous exposure as a child.
Chickenpox This very comon infectious disease can now be prevented through immunisation. Many people miss the disease in childhood only to have a significant illness as an adult. If you do not have history of immunisation, a simple blood test can show whether you are at risk.
Influenza Individuals intending to travel out of an Australian winter might consider the current flu vaccine at the beginning of the season. exposure to illness in airports and commuter transport is common and exposure may ruin a much needed break.
Malaria Malaria is transmitted by a night biting mosquito. The risk is very low in Vietnam, particularly when the stay is restricted to the main tourist areas or travel between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh via Highway One. The decision to use or not use anti-malarial drugs should be made after consultation with a travel health specialist taking into consideration the relative risk of areas on the traveller's itinerary as well as potential side effects and cost of available drugs. Insect avoidance measures should be followed throughout the trip. Upon return, any flu like illnesses should be investigated by a travel health specialist.
Rabies Rabies is a deadly viral infection of the brain transmitted to humans. The disease itself is rare in travellers but the risk increase with extended travel and the likelihood of animal contact. The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid all contact with animals. Dogs are the main carriers, however monkeys, bats, cats and other animals may also transmit the disease. Pre-exposure vaccination is recommended for extended travel and those who with with or are likely to come into contact with animals.
Dengue Fever Dengue (pronounced Den-gee) Fever is a viral disease with flu like symptoms that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Outbreaks occur in Vanuatu, particularly during the wetter months of the year.  There is no vaccine for Dengue Fever and prevention is based on avoiding mosquito bites using repellents, nets and insecticides.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE) JE is a mosquito borne viral disease prevalent in rural areas of Asia and Indonesia that can lead to serious brain infection in humans. risk is usually greatest during the monsoon months. A vaccine is available and is particularly recommended for adults and children over 12 months who will be spending a month or more in rice growing areas of countries at risk. Insect avoidance should be considered the primary means of defence.
Travellers' Diarrhoea Up to 40% of tourists may develop diarrhoea within the first week of travel. A variety of germs can be responsible and a Traveller's Medical Kit containing appropriate therapy can rapidly improve the symptoms. It is also important to follow the rules of healthy eating and drinking to minimise risks.