Travel Vaccination

travel

Victoria Street Medical Group offers accessible, comprehensive and specific travel health advice.

We bulk bill travel health appointments 7 days per week. Our team of doctors provide travel health consultations tailored to suit solo travellers, small or large groups, parents or families, and corporate travellers.

We administer a full range of travel vaccinations purchased directly from our neighbouring pharmacy at competitive price and administered by medical staff at Victoria Street Medical Group. Patients are advised to remain in the surgery for 15 minutes after injections to allow for observation. We provide documentation where necessary – and are a nationally accredited provider of yellow fever vaccination.

Cholera

It is a bacterial infection that can cause severe watery diarrhoea which rapidly leads to dehydration. Vomiting and leg cramps may also occur. The symptoms may be mild or severe. If severe, the profuse diarrhoea can lead to death if not treated promptly. Read more…

Cholera

The Cholera bacterium is usually spread by water or food contaminated with infected faeces. It can occur in explosive outbreaks affecting many people such as during disasters like flooding when sanitary conditions are poor. Raw or uncooked seafood from polluted water can also cause such outbreaks. The risk of an individual traveller contracting Cholera depends on many factors most importantly the quality of the food and water consumed.Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediate replacement of fluid and salt lost through diarrhoea. Patients can be treated with oral rehydration solution, such as Gastrolyte, hydrolyte, Pedialyte. In some cases, antibiotics are also used.

Prevention of Cholera

When food and water precautions are observed, the risk of contracting cholera may be reduced. Travellers to cholera-endemic zones for longer than 2-3 weeks are strongly recommended to have Cholera vaccination. Read more…

Two doses are required, given a minimum of 1 week and up to 6 weeks apart. If the 2nd dose is not administered within 6 weeks, re-start the vaccination course.

Adults and children aged >6 years who are at ongoing risk should receive a single booster dose up to 2 years after completion of the primary course. If the interval between primary immunisation and the booster dose is more than 2 years, primary immunisation must be repeated.

Dengue

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a viral illness transmitted by a species of mosquito. It causes severe flu-like symptoms with sudden onset of fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, joints and muscle pain. Rash can also develop 3 to 6 days after the fever. Read more…

Spontaneous recovery usually occurs, rarely it may be prolonged and at times can lead to a severe and fatal haemorrhagic disease. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment. Dengue fever is endemic in most tropical countries of South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean Basin, Mexico, Central and South America and Africa. It also occurs in northern parts of Australia.The mosquitoes usually bite humans during the daytime especially early morning and late afternoon. They are found in or near human habitations, especially indoors or shady areas.

Prevention of Dengue Fever

There is no vaccine for Dengue Fever and no specific antimicrobial treatment.Read more…

Travellers to endemic areas should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites especially during the day time.

Travellers should seek medical advice if they develop any acute illness occurring within 1 month after returning from an endemic area.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is spread by ingestion of infected food or water and is usually the least serious of the viruses responsible for hepatitis, it is highly contagious and can be dangerous for people with pre-existing liver problems. Read more…

Globally, the hepatitis A virus is one of the most frequent causes of foodborne infection. The World Health Organization estimates that each year there are about 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A infection worldwide.

Causes

Hepatitis A is spread by contact with infected faeces, and tends to be more common in developing countries with poor hygiene standards. The virus can survive on hands for several hours, and in food kept at room temperature for considerably longer. It can also be spread through contaminated water.

Symptoms

Symptoms can show between 15 and 50 days after infection (30 days on average) and include: fever, tiredness, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine and pale faeces, and jaundice (yellow colouring of the eyes and skin). Illness usually lasts between one and three weeks, and is usually followed by complete recovery. Young children who become infected often have no symptoms, but remain infectious to others.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain at a considerably higher risk of acquiring Hepatitis A infections and also being hospitalised with the infection, when compared to non-Indigenous children.

Prevention

The hepatitis A vaccine is extremely effective in preventing infection with the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis. Two doses of the vaccine are given six months apart between 12 and 24 months of age.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection. It is primarily transmitted through activities which result in exchange of blood or blood-derived fluids, this includes sexual activity, either heterosexual or homosexual with a carrier. Read more…

Principal activities which may result in blood exposure include work in health care, receipt of blood transfusion which have not been screened for Hepatitis B, having medical or dental work done using inadequate sterilised equipment. In addition, in less developed areas, open wound and skin lesions due to factors such as impetigo, scabies and scratched insect bites may play a role in disease transmission if direct exposure to wounds occursSymptoms are loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed within a few days by jaundice. The course of illness is usually 4 weeks, and rarely, it can be fatal. About 5% of adults remains carriers after acute infection, which can lead to liver damage including cirrhosis and liver cancer after 15-20 years. Children under 1 year of age usually have no symptoms, but virtually 100% will become chronic carriers. The incidence is particularly high in Asia, Africa and South America.

Prevention

Travellers should try to avoid exposure through activities mentioned above. All Travellers who plan to reside for more than 1 month in endemic areas should be vaccinated with Hepatitis B vaccine. Read more…

Travellers staying less than 1 month, who will have direct contact with blood (eg. health worker), or sexual contact with residents in the endemic areas need to be vaccinated as well.
Three injections, preferably over 6 months are required for vaccination at Victoria Street Medical Group. This regime will give protection in 90% of travellers for about 5-10 years minimum.Note: Hepatitis B is routinely vaccinated against in babies and school children, however many young adults who are at risk may not have had an opportunity for vaccination.
What is Influenza?

Influenza is a common vaccine preventable illness in travellers. Influenza is acquired by exposure to droplets from coughing and sneezing in crowded places. Common symptoms are fever, aches, headache, runny nose, cough and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea. Read more….

Spread of influenza is exacerbated by lack of influenza immunisation programs in developing countries. Vaccination should be strongly considered, especially if travelling in the influenza season and if travel is in large groups due to air travel, cruise ships or bus tours.Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is more than just a bad cold. It is caused by a highly contagious virus that is spread by fluids produced during coughing and sneezing or by direct contact with those fluids on surfaces. Flu can occasionally lead to serious complications, including death. Older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical condition are more likely to develop serious complications such as pneumonia as a result of the flu. However it is now accepted that everyone can benefit from influenza vaccination.

Prevention

Vaccination is recommended at least 2 weeks prior to travel and does not give you the flu. It can however, cause you to experience aches and pains or a fever for a day or two after vaccination, this is however rare.

Japanese Encephalitis

This is a virus infection transmitted by mosquito bite that causes a severe flu-like illness with prominent headache, neck stiffness, confusion and coma. Death rates may be up to 30% or higher and long term brain damage is common. Read more…

It is spread mostly in rural area where conditions favour breeding of mosquito that carries the virus especially during the wet season.There is no cure for the disease. Cases either recover spontaneously, die or develop permanent brain damage. It occurs mostly in rural areas of many parts of South East Asia, China, Korea, Northern India and Nepal.

Prevention

The main prevention is by avoidance of mosquito bites and Immunisation with a Vaccine.Read more…

For travellers spending one month or more in rural areas and for those residing for 6-12 months or more in urban areas where the disease is prevalent, vaccination is recommended. Vaccination requires multiple doses of vaccine and is to be completed at least 10 days before travel.This gives >95% protection and is recommended for all travellers over 1 year of age.Note that some travellers experience a reaction to the vaccine including sore arm in approximately 20%, a slight temp and generalised aches in approximately 10%. Approximately 1% of patients have a severe allergic reaction and all patients are requested to remain for observation for 30 min, although this reaction can occur rarely up to 10 days after vaccination. Alcohol is to be avoided totally for 48 hours after vaccination.

Malaria
Malaria

Malaria is an illness caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. The risk of malaria depends on the traveller’s itinerary, the duration of travel, and the place where the traveller will spend the evenings and nights. Read more…

Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, muscle ache and malaise but may progress to a severe infection including death. Early stages of malaria may resemble the onset of the flu. Travellers who become ill with fever of greater than 38 degrees for more than 24 hours, during or after travel in a malaria endemic area should seek medical attention and should inform their physician of their recent travel history. As malaria does not always cause the classic pattern of symptoms, any fever could be malaria, in any person who has been in a malaria area any time in the past 12 months.
Prevention

It is essential to take all measures to avoid mosquito bites between dusk and dawn while travelling in endemic areas. And take medication specific for malaria prevention. Read more…

There is no vaccination for malaria, however preventive anti-malaria medication may be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection. No medication is 100% effective, or completely free of possible side effects. The decision to use medications depends on many factors, and in some travellers the only prevention required may be mosquito protection using an adequate insect repellent sprays/roll on. Medication must be taken as prescribed.Pregnant women and young children are strongly advised not to travel to malaria affected areas because no anti-malaria medications are entirely safe for them to take. Options include delaying the trip or travel to other areas.
Treatment

Early treatment is essential to prevent serious complications of malaria. See your doctor if you fall ill within a year of visiting a malaria area. Travellers should report fever, muscular aches, headaches or gastro-enteritis symptoms.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that causes a skin rash and fever. Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis which means inflammation of the brain. Measles is rare in Australia because of the widespread use of the measles vaccine. Read more…

However, many adults have missed the disease and vaccination, and should therefore be vaccinated prior to travel. Measles is still highly endemic in Asia and Africa and imported infection has been responsible for several outbreaks in Australia recently.
Prevention

Measles, Mumps & Rubella vaccine comes as a single injection and should be considered for anyone born since 1966 who has not had 2 doses of MMR or who has no serological evidence of protection. Rash, lethargy or fever can occur 7-10 days after vaccination and last 2-3 days

Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the brain that is spread from person to person via respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing. It has a high fatality and can result in serious complications. Read more…

It occurs in all countries but is particularly a risk in sub-Sahara Africa, Northern India and Nepal, Brazil, Chile and Mongolia. There may be epidemics from time to time. Meningitis has a high fatality rate, but is largely prevented by vaccination.

  • The vaccine gives 85-90% protection and provides immunity within 14 days of vaccination.
  • It is recommended for all over 2 years of age.
  • Safety in pregnancy has not been established, but seems to be safe after the first three months of pregnancy.
  • Muslim Pilgrims performing The Hajj must produce a certificate stating that they have had a meningitis vaccination within the past 3 years.
Prevention

Meningitis has a high fatality rate, but is largely prevented by vaccination.

Polio

Polio (or Poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. Minor symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting and pains in the arms and legs may present. In more significant cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move.

Prevention

The disease is preventable with the polio vaccine.

Tetanus, Diphtheria & Whooping cough

Three antigens are combined in one injection and administered once every 10 years to protect you against 3 very serious bacterial infections; tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Read more…

There have been increasingly more frequent whooping cough outbreaks worldwide, even in Australia.

Tetanus causes muscle spasms and breathing problems. Tetanus is uncommon in Australia because of the widespread use of the tetanus vaccine. Some types of wounds are more likely to encourage the growth of tetanus bacteria, such as compound fractures, animal bites, burns or any wounds contaminated with soil, horse manure or pieces of foreign objects. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly infectious respiratory infection. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection transmitted from person to person by coughing and sneezing.

Prevention

If more than 10 years have elapsed since the last dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, travellers to countries where medical services may be difficult to access should receive a booster.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection due to a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The symptoms includes fever, night sweats, lethargy, cough with blood stained sputum and weight loss. Sometimes, it causes no symptoms and can only be detected by investigation like chest x-ray. TB can be successfully treated using antibiotics. Read more…

To become infected, one would have to spend a long time in a closed environment where the air was contaminated by an infected person who is coughing out the bacteria.

Prevention

Maintaining good general health and avoiding prolonged contacts with infected people are the most effective measures to prevent Tuberculosis.

The BCG Vaccine, though not 100% effective, is recommended for children under the age of 5 years who will be living in a high prevalence area Read more…

for a long period of time, or health workers intending who work in high risk countries for prolonged periods. The vaccination can only be given by government recognised centres like Royal Childrens Hospital or Monash Medical Centre.

Vaccination for TB:

A special skin test (Tuberculin test) needs to be performed before the vaccination. People with positive skin test, past history of Tuberculosis, pregnancy, and generalised skin disease can not have the BCG vaccination.
The vaccine is a single injection given at least three months before travel, and can last up to 10 years.

Typhoid

Typhoid is caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi. Illness involves fever, loss of appetite, lethargy and diarrhoea. Without treatment, the illness can be fatal. Read more…

resulting in perforation of the gut causing peritonitis and death. It is contracted by ingesting contaminated food and water and is most likely when cooked food is handled or left unrefrigerated.

Typhoid is prevalent in most tropical and subtropical countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Oceania and Central and South America.

Prevention

Vaccination is recommended for people travelling to affected areas, particularly for those staying more than two weeks in areas of poor or uncertain sanitation. Typhoid vaccine is available in an injectable form, which lasts for 3 years.

Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics for 10 to 14 days.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that exists in some parts of Africa and South America. The disease has a fatality rate of over 60%. The symptoms include fever, vomiting, jaundice and kidney disease. Read more…

Yellow fever is a very rare cause of illness in travellers, however preventive measures must be carried out. Many countries including Australia will deny entry for travellers from endemic areas unless a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is provided.
How can travellers protect against yellow fever?
By getting vaccinated

Yellow fever is preventable. The vaccine is safe and almost 100 percent effective. With few exceptions, vaccination is recommended for all travellers to countries or areas where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever vaccination can be provided on site at Victoria Street Medical Group for $110. A Yellow fever vaccination certificate is also provided and this has lifelong validity.

By avoiding mosquitoes

The mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever are usually active during the day. All people who travel to or live in yellow fever endemic countries are advised to avoid mosquitoes. This can be done by taking the following measures:

  • Wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET or Picaridin
  • Wear light coloured, long-sleeved clothes when you’re outdoors
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne (some of these can attract mosquitoes)
  • Prevent mosquitoes entering your accommodation
  • Use a mosquito net at night-time (if mosquitoes are likely to be present)
The Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate

Most countries including Australia have requirements for yellow fever vaccination Certificate for travellers coming from an endemic area, this must be met prior to entering the country. Persons over the age of 1 arriving in Australia and who have visited an endemic area within the last 6 days, will need a vaccination certificate. Yellow fever vaccination and certificate is only available from a licensed Yellow Fever centre such as Victoria Street Medical Group