Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New member of the family? You may need a new vaccine

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Thanks to cnn.com for this article. Hepatitis A and all other vaccinations are available at Passport Health. Call today: 888-499-7277

(CNN.com) There is nothing quite as momentous as bringing a new baby home.  There are smiles, kisses and sometimes tears, especially for families who have waited a long time for the moment to arrive.  For parents who adopt children from abroad, arriving home is often extra special.  The investment of time,  money and travel has resulted in a homecoming for a special little person who is finally sleeping safely in Mom and Dad's arms.

In the past, experts have told parents who travel internationally to adopt children to get vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.  Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is supporting a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  recommendation that other people who may have close contact with the children in the months after they arrive in the United States also get vaccinated.



According to the U.S. State Department, more than 11,000 children were adopted from other countries in 2010.  Most of these children came from China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.  Almost 100%  of children adopted abroad between 1998 and 2008 came from countries with high rates of the hepatitis A virus according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  85 percent of those infections were in children under 5.

Why the concern?  Hepatitis A is highly contagious.  The symptoms include abdominal pain near the liver, dark urine and jaundice .  But often people with it don't have symptoms, so it's hard to tell they are carrying the virus.   As a result, it can easily spread it to others.  In more serious cases, hepatitis A can cause an acute liver infection and in extreme cases, liver failure.

The recommendations come after a report in 2007 of a grandmother of a child from Ethiopia coming down with hepatitis A.  A subsequent investigation found 20 additional cases of acute hepatitis A in people who had not traveled abroad but had close personal contact with children who had recently been adopted outside the United States.

So how do you know if you should get vaccinated?  The AAP says you should get the vaccine if you anticipate having close contact with international adoptees during the two months after their arrival.  It also recommends getting the first shot more than two weeks before the adopted child arrives and getting the second dose at least six months after the first one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Polio Outbreak in China

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Beijing (CNN) -- An outbreak of polio has been confirmed in China for the first time since 1999, leaving one person dead and hospitalizing another nine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease, a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death, broke out in the prefectures of Hotan and Bazhou in the country's western Xinjiang province.

Among the ten cases confirmed, six are in children under three years old and four are young adults.  See the rest of the story .

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a viral disease which is transmitted by fecal-oral or oral-oral contact. It invades the nervous system and often leads to permanent paralysis. It can be prevented by immunization.

Most people, Americans especially, think of Polio as a disease that was eradicated decades ago, but that is not the case.  Though the number of reported cases have been greatly reduced, we have not achieved global eradication...yet.

In 1988, the World Health Organization, together with Rotary International, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention passed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with the goal of eradicating polio by the year 2000.  The initiative continues today.

Polio vaccination remains a part of routine immunizations for children in the US, but a one-time Polio booster for adults is often recommended for those who will be traveling to endemic areas such as Africa, India, Indonesia and the Arabian Peninsula, or if their last Polio immunization was over 10 years ago.

Contact Passport Health if you are interested in obtaining the Polio vaccination.  Our 200 nationwide locations are equipped with knowledgeable Travel Medicine Specialists to counsel you on the best ways to stay safe and healthy while you travel here and abroad.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Death In Barbados due to Dengue Fever

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An adult male has been confirmed as the first recorded death as a result of Dengue Fever in Barbados. This was confirmed today by the Ministry of Health.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John expressed sympathy to the family of the deceased and is urging Barbadians who are experiencing symptoms of Dengue Fever, including sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain; or symptoms of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever such as bleeding from nose, mouth and gums, frequent vomiting or difficulty breathing, to seek immediate medical attention.

Barbadians are also reminded to check their premises for possible mosquito breeding places and to cover water containers such as buckets, small plastic containers and drums or to dispose of these in a proper manner, in order to reduce mosquito breeding.
See full story here.

There is no vaccine available for Dengue Fever so the use of  bug repellent and other protective measures is necessary.  If you have further questions about Dengue Fever or would like to learn more about protective measures against mosquitoes you can contact a Travel Medicine Specialist at Passport Health.

Travel Safely!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Importance of Getting Vaccines: Case of the Super Mosquito

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The case of the super mosquito comes from the small country of Guyana.  After living in South America for a year I couldn't miss the opportunity of visiting the often overlooked countries of The Guiana's.  I honestly didn't know what to expect or exactly what to see until I got to the country.  One of the most unique things they have to offer besides unspoiled wildlife in the Amazon Jungle was the Kaieteur Falls. 
In what seems like a completely remote location where no guard rails exist, the Kaieteur Falls are very reminiscent of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.  The color of the flow of water at Kaieteur is exactly like the like the water at the Devil's Throat at Iguazu.  Before visiting they told us about the encounters we would have with wildlife as well as the mosquitoes.
On the same tour we had the privilege of visiting the Orinduik Falls where we would find the friendly mosquito on steroids called the Kaboura Fly.  Not only does this insect look like a mosquito that has been working out at a gym for most of its life, it also leaves a nasty welt that is roughly two or three times bigger than the small bump a mosquito leaves.
I was given exclusive footage of a welt that was earned weeks before we arrived to our gracious host at the hotel that I was staying at, the El Dorado Inn.  The Kaboura fly also has a great habit of laying eggs inside of your skin which I'm sure we all want to experience!  Since I was updated before my trip to the Kaieteur Falls I made sure to put on plenty of bug spray all over my skin before we arrived. 
Luckily, we landed at a time when it was sunny and there weren't too many flies out at the falls.  Speaking to the many mosquitoes that have bitten by uncle over the years they advised me that he has some of the sweetest blood on the planet.  That's one of the reasons that I love traveling with my uncle, mosquitoes tend to prefer his skin to mine.
Since his blood is so sweet the Kaboura flies decided to bite my uncle through his t-shirt.  Not once or twice, he was bitten three separate times by the Kaboura flies.  If you ever thought there was a time that you needed to have your vaccines imagine being bitten by this random fly that happens to leave eggs inside of your skin.  My uncle didn't feel well at all that night and he happened to get all of his vaccines just before we arrived in Guyana.
After some research on the internet and speaking to locals we found out that the Kaboura flies don't carry any diseases.  So in this case a vaccination or medication wouldn't help, but just imagine if they did carry disease and you didn't have your vaccines/meds to prevent that disease?  It's very important to take care of your health while you are traveling and learning how to protect yourself when medicine or vaccines can't is a must.  Don't forget your bug repellent- the Kaboura flies will find you.  Just ask my uncle!
About the Author:
Marcello Arrambide is a day trader and travel blogger that is currently traveling around the world.  He spent over 3 weeks exploring The Guianas while traveling to every country in South America.  You can find out more about Marcello by visiting his travel blog: WanderingTrader.com.  He is currently living in Nairobi, Kenya exploring all of Eastern Africa.