Take your shots before heading abroad

Individuals headed abroad this summer should get their jabs in early.

Though the risk is slight of contracting a serious ailment, hand, foot and mouth disease is common throughout Asia and measles outbreaks are common in many parts of the world. There’s a measles outbreak currently in Vancouver and the 2009 H1N1 flu strain, commonly known as “swine flu,” continues to be problematic worldwide.

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and microbiologist at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center says people headed overseas are more likely to develop traveler’s diarrhea than a serious disease but it is better to be safe than sorry. 

“It’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date on all routine and travel-related vaccines before departing for any international destination,” Dr. Kahn says. “Even those individuals who are not traveling abroad or to exotic locales should be up to date with their vaccinations, though. There's currently a mumps outbreak in the Northeast.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that travelers headed to developing countries be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. The CDC also recommends that individuals visiting certain destinations be vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal meningitis, rabies and yellow fever.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/patientcare/medicalservices/infectious.html to learn more about clinical services in infectious diseases at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear

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