Breaksian Travel Blog Career break traveling in Asia

Tropical diseases prevention.

5 years ago I had the opportunity to visit India. The department where I was working in Google had an office in Hyderabad and I went there on a business trip. Since I was going to be there already I thought it would be great to go on a small trip, so we did some research with a colleague of mine and we visited the golden triangle: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra:

Before traveling to India I paid a visit to the Irish Tropical Medical bureau to get an idea about the vaccines boosters I needed and to get advice on the preventive measures I should take while visiting the Indian subcontinent. I remember while I was in India I had an encounter with a pack of stray dogs, so vaccination is always in the back of my mind when I'm traveling to certain countries.

 

Recommended vaccination

I will be traveling for months in the Southeast Asia region this time around, so I decided to paid a visit to the Swiss Tropical and Health Institute to discuss with a specialist if I needed some additional vaccines and what other advice should I take into consideration during the long Asian trip. The Swiss TPH staff are really good! The conversation I had with them was very informative and the recommendations were spot on. The vaccines they recommended me were:

 

Vaccine Dose Reason
Hepatitis A. 1 shot (booster) Booster to increase the existing immunity
Hepatitis B 3 Shots. (every 2 weeks) Transmission by infectious blood or body fluids. Still it is recommended because of the length of the trip.
Rabies 3 Shots. (every 2 weeks) Recommended because the illness is deadly and it's endemic in parts of central southeast asia
Japanese Encephalitis 2 shots (28 days apart) It's the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. Periodic epidemics in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, and Malaysia.

 

Malaria and Dengue

I also asked about Malaria, since I know this is one of regions of the world with relatively high prevalence of the disease and as far I remembered from my studies, this mosquito-borne infectious illness can be nasty. They recommended me to be careful in the countryside, trying to sleep with a mosquito net if the room doesn't have air conditioner. I should be particularly mindful if I travel in Indonesia to the west of Bali (in this case I should get some doxycycline tablets). Here is WHO map with the incidence of Malaria (2000 - 2012):

I'm not sure if I will visit West Papua, Lombok or Flores but if do I need to get treatment. The doctor also discussed with me a couple of tips about Dengue. Unfortunately there is no vaccination to prevent the Dengue virus so the main advice is to use adequate clothing and repellent to avoid being bitten. The other good tip I got from him was to use paracetamol instead of Aspirin or Ibuprofen since they can increase the risk of bleeding.