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Travel Medicine

Travel Medicine Advice

Australians travelling overseas, especially to developing countries, need to be vaccinated against a range of diseases. Illnesses may be caused by contaminated food or water, poor hygiene or infected insects.

Things to remember while planning a trip overseas:

  • Ask your doctor if you need to be vaccinated
  • Make an appointment to discuss your travel plans several week before you leave
  • Most illness can be prevented by vaccinations and a little caution.
  • Vaccination for specific diseases.

Hepatitis A

  • This is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in travelers.
  • It is spread by contaminated food or water.
  • Symptoms include fever, lack of energy and jaundice.
  • Vaccination is safe and extremely effective.

Hepatitis B

  • This is spread by body fluid
  • Symptoms include fever, lack of energy (malaise) and jaundice (yellow skin colour).
  • Around half of all cases worldwide result in death.
  • Vaccination is safe and extremely effective.

Typhoid

  • This is common in developing countries.
  • Symptoms include fever, weakness, headache and sometimes a rash.
  • Vaccinations must be completed at least one week before travelling.

Rabies

  • This is common to North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • The cause is a virus passed on by a bite or scratch from an infected dog or any mammal that carries the virus.
  • Symptoms include headache and fever, then convulsions and death.
  • A three-dose vaccination is given over 3–4 weeks prior to travel.
  • All animal bites and scratches should be immediately and thoroughly washed with soap and water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Treatment after a bite from a possibly rabid animal involves a course of five vaccines and, if previously unvaccinated, an injection of immunoglobulin.

Meningococcal Meningitis

  • This is common in Africa.
  • The cause is a virus spread by aerosol droplets.
  • Symptoms include headache, fever, confusion and neurological damage.
  • Vaccination is a legal requirement for some countries.

Japanese Encephalitis

  • Common to China, Korea, the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia.
  • The cause is a virus spread by infected mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms include headache, fever, confusion and neurological damage.
  • Treatment can only ease the symptoms.
  • Three doses of vaccine are required well before you travel.

Yellow Fever

  • This is present in tropical South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The cause is a virus spread by infected mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms include fever, headache, bloody vomiting, jaundice and death.
  • The vaccination gives immunity for around 10 years.
  • Vaccination is a legal requirement for some countries and certification can only be given by an authorised travel health clinic.

Ways to protect your self from illness caused by contaminated food and water, or from mosquito or animal bites:

  • Don’t drink tap water (or have ice in drinks)
  • Don’t buy food from vendors on the street
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Wear insect repellent
  • Stay away from animals

Camberwell Junction Medical Clinic
Rear 6 Prospect Hill Rd, Main entrance from Safeway / Target car park
(03) 9882 8184 Fax: (03) 9882 4146

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624 Burke Rd Camberwell, VIC 3124 Tel: 3 9804 0033