Diseases of concern in Vietnam include malaria, dengue, hepatitis A and B, tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera, and Japanese encephalitis. Vaccinations can protect you against some of these, listed under Immunizations below. For others, no vaccine exists; protective measures appear under Precautions.
In Vietnam, number 12 on the World Health Organization's list of the world's top 22 high burden TB countries, TB continues to kill almost 20,000 people per year or two people every hour. Though Vietnam has made progress in reducing TB infection rates, identifying, correctly diagnosing and successfully treating people with TB remains a challenge. TB can be completely cured with a low-cost multi-drug therapy taken over a period of six months.
Since December of 2007, Hanoi and provinces in northern Vietnam have seen an episodic resurgence of severe acute diarrhea known to be cholera.
See a Doctor Before You Travel
Visit a travel medicine specialist, or a doctor familiar with travel medicine, at least a month before your trip.
Recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control are below, but appropriate vaccines and medicines depend on many factors that are specific to each person. Inform your doctor:
Where you are traveling within a country,
- The length of your trip,
- What types of activities you might do,
- Other personal matters such as your age, medical and vaccine history, and current medical state.
Many hospitals and many county health departments have a Travel Medicine office. A directory of private travel clinics is available at the International Society of Travel Medicine, www.istm.org.
|Required: Yellow fever for travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present|
|Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with "standard" tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.|
|Hepatitis B||Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map), especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).|
|Typhoid||Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Southeast Asia, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.|
Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for travelers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians), for long-term travelers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals.
Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites.
|Japanese encephalitis||Recommended if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.|
|Routine||Before traveling, update any vaccinations you would normally receive, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine.|
Malaria occurs in rural, forested areas of Vietnam, except none in the Red River delta and the coast north of Nha Trang. None in Can Tho, Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, Nha Trang, and Qui Nhon.
If you will be visiting an area of Myanmar with malaria, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. Ways to prevent malaria include the following:
Some areas of Vietnam have resistance to certain antimalarial drugs. See the Malaria Risk Information and Prophylaxis, by Country chart (link http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/malaria-risk-information-and-prophylaxis/China.aspx#1918) to find out which antimalarial drug is appropriate for the area you plan to visit in Vietnam.
|Dengue, Chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis|
Prevent insect bites by:
|Avoid exposure to known TB patients in crowded environments such as hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products.|
|Highly pathenogenic avian influenza H5N1|
|[Note: Between 2003 and mid-2010, 119 human cases were confirmed in Vietnam; of these, 59 were fatal.] Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.|
|Do not swim in unchlorinated fresh water.|
|Avoid contact with, submersion in, or swallowing potentially contaminated water. Travelers who plan to engage in water activities should consider protective clothing and/or prophylaxis with doxycycline.|
|Food- and water-borne illness|
Observe food safety practices:
|Fungal and parasitic infections|
|Keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, especially on beaches where animals may have defecated.|
|HIV and other infections|
Pack a travel health kit
Your kit serves three purposes: to manage any pre-existing conditions, to prevent illnesses related to traveling, and to take care of minor health matters.
When packing medications for travel, remember the following considerations.
- Original containers: All medications should be carried in their original containers with clear labels, so the contents are easily identified. Although many travelers like placing medications into small containers or packing them in the daily-dose containers, officials at ports of entry may require proper identification of medications.
- Prescriptions: Travelers should carry copies of all prescriptions, including their generic names.
- Physician notes: For controlled substances and injectable medications, travelers are advised to carry a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery.
- Restricted medications: Travelers should be aware that certain medications are not permitted in certain countries. If there is a question about these restrictions, particularly with controlled substances, travelers are recommended to contact the embassy or consulate of the destination country.
- Availability: A travel health kit is useful only when it is available. It should be carried with the traveler at all times (e.g., in a carry-on bag). Due to airline security rules, sharp objects and some liquids and gels must remain in checked luggage.
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