There have, in addition, been cases of substitution of inert
materials for active drugs. With the following precautions
and advice you should keep as healthy as usual. Make local
enquiries about health risks if you are apprehensive and take
the general advice of European, Australian or North American
families who have lived or are living in the area.
Take out medical insurance. You should also have a dental
check-up, obtain a spare glasses prescription and, if you
suffer from a long-standing condition, such as diabetes, high
blood pressure, heart/lung disease or a nervous disorder,
arrange for a check-up with your doctor who can at the same
time provide you with a letter explaining details of your
medical disorder. Check the current practice for malaria prophylaxis
(prevention) for the countries you intend to visit.
Visiting the peninsula's west coast does not require any medical
precautions other than some insect repellent. Those travelling
to national parks, rural areas and to Sabah and Sarawak are
advised to have vaccinations against cholera, typhoid and
polio, hepatitis A, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis. Smallpox
vaccination is no longer required. Neither is cholera vaccination,
despite the fact that the disease occurs, but not at present
in epidemic form. Yellow fever vaccination is not required
either, although you may be asked for a certificate if you
have been in a country affected by
Yellow fever immediately before travelling to Southeast
Infection hepatitis This is less of a problem
for travellers than it used to be development of two extremely
effective vaccines against the A and B form of the disease.
It remains common, however, in Laos. A combined hepatitis
A and B vaccine now licensed and has been available since
1997 - one jab covers both diseases
Typhoid (monovalent) One dose followed by
a booster 1 month later. Immunity from this course 23 years.
An oral preparation is also available.
Poliomyelitis this is alive vaccine generally
given orally but a full course consists of three doses with
a booster in tropical regions every 3-5 years.
Tetanus one dose should be given, with a
booster at 6 weeks and another at 6 month. Ten yearly boosters
thereafter are recommended.
Meningitis and Japanese B encephalitis (JVE)
There is an extremely small risk of these rather serios diseases;
both are seasonal and vary according to region. Meningitis
can occur in epidemic form; JVE is a viral disease transmitted
from pigs to man by mosquitoes, For detail of the vaccinations,
consult a travel clinic.
Children should, in addition to the above, be properly protected
against diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps and measles. Teenage
girls, if they have not had the disease, should be given a
rubella (German measles) vaccination. Consult your doctor
for advice on BCG inoculation against tuberculosis: the disease
is still common in the region.
You my find following item useful to take with you from home:
suntan cream, insect repellent, flea powder, Mosquito net,
coils or tablets, tampons, condoms, contraceptives water sterilizing
tablets, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infective ointment, dusting
powder for feet travel sickness pills, antiacid tablets, anti-diarrhoea
tablets, sachets of rehydration salts, a first aid kit and
disposable needles (also see page 59)
Information regarding country-by-country malaria risk can
be obtained from the world health organization (WHO) or in
Britain from the Ross Institute, London School information
- Keppel St, London WCIE 7HTwhich also publishes a highly
recommended book the preservation of Personal Health in Warm
Climates. I he In Atlanta, Georgia, USA will provide equivalent
information. The organization MASTA (Medical Advisory Service
for Travellers Abroad) also based at the London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (T020-7631M08) will provide
up-to-date country-by-country information on health risks.
Further information on medical problems overseas can be obtained
from Travellers Health: How to Stay Healthy Abroad, edited
by Richard Dawood (Oxford University Press, 1992). This revised
and updated edition is highly recommended especially to the
intrepid traveller. A more general publication, with hints
on health and much more besides, is John Hatt's The Tropical
Traveller (Penguin, 1993).
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