Travelling through Thailand and it’s many islands, beaches, mountains and jungles can be the experience of a lifetime! It does however, come with it’s own unique set of risks to the health of those who flock there each summer. Although travel vaccinations are not compulsory for entry to Thailand from Ireland or the UK, it is highly recommended that travellers receive vaccinations between 4 and 6 weeks before they arrive. This week we caught up with the team over at the Tropical Medical Bureau to find out more about each of the vaccinations they offer and what they can protect you against.
The bacteria that causes tetanus is found in soil and animal faeces and gains entry to humans through cuts in the skin. The initial signs and symptoms include muscle spasms (particularly of the jaw muscles), neck pain, and sore throat. These symptoms may then progress to difficulty eating or swallowing, body spasms, rapid heart rate, fluctuating blood pressure and excessive secretions.
The typhoid vaccination protects against a bacterial disease that is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Insects may also transfer the disease by carrying contaminated material to food that is eaten by humans. The incubation period for typhoid is in the region of 10 to 14 days after infection and its main symptoms are severe headaches and fever.
Hepatitis is most commonly known as Yellow Jaundice in Ireland due to the yellow discolouration it causes in patients. It is caused by a small RNA virus which is easily transferred through water and filtration systems due to its size. Aside from water, the disease is mainly transmitted through contaminated fingers and food. Once inside the body, the virus invades liver cells causing flu like symptoms to develop. It’s best to ensure you have this vaccination as those who get infected can end up missing months of work once they return home.
The rabies vaccination is not recommended for all travellers to Thailand, however, those planning on trekking or staying for longer periods should seek to protect themselves against it. The main way it is contracted is through the bite of a warm-blooded animal. With Thailand being home to such a diverse wildlife, this vaccine should definitely be worth considering.
Like the rabies vaccination, the hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for travellers who are planning to stay in Thailand longer, or those who are going trekking. It is believed that hepatitis B is about 100 times more infectious to humans than HIV. It is usually contracted through contact with body fluids but insects can also play a part in transmission of the disease.
If you’re planning on treking further into the countryside of Thailand and off the beaten track of other tourists, then you may need to vaccinate yourself against tuberculosis, meningococcal meningitis, Japanese B encephalitis and malaria. Travellers should also make sure they the check safety and political status of the country they are planning to travel to. The Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website are two great sources for this kind of information.
If you’re looking for more information on vaccinations for Thailand or other countries around the world, then contact the Tropical Medical Bureau. Once you’ve got yourself covered, why not get a great value travel insurance policy for that extra peace of mind as well.