Travel Medicine News from Stuart R. Rose, MD at TravMed.com – Page 5 – Travel Medicine, Inc.
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New Meningitis Vaccine

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Until now, travelers could not be protected against meniningitis B. Vaccines (Menactra, Menomune) have been available only against serogroups C, Y, and W135. Until recently, there were no serogroup B meningococcal vaccines licensed for use in the United States. On October 29, 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the first serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Trumenba®). FDA approved this vaccine for use in people 10-25 years of age as a 3-dose series. On January 23, 2015, FDA licensed a second serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero®). FDA approved this vaccine for use in people 10-25 years of age as a...

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Are Homeopathic Drugs Effective?

Posted by Stuart Rose on

How can a drug work if it's so dilute? I have always been a doubter when claims are made about the effectiveness of drugs that contain so little active ingredient. But these drugs CAN be effective because of their placebo effect, which is recognized as a true, and valid, effect. If you think a drug will make you feel better, you often do.

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Chikungunya Fever in Nicaragua & Colombia

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Don't get bitten by daytime-biting mosquitoes! There is no vaccine. Colombia: Chikungunya According to Colombia's Ministry of Health, more than 6,900 cases of chikungunya fever a week are currently occurring, primarily in Huila, Tolima, and Valle del Cauca departments; the outbreak has peaked. More than 270,700 suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya fever have been reported since mid-September 2014. Chikungunya is an arboviral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. Travelers are advised to practice daytime insect precautions. Chikungunya should be considered in any traveler presenting with fever within 12 days of returning from this country. Nicaragua: Chikungunya According to PAHO, more than...

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The Threat of Polio - CDC Polio Update

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Polio spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis (inability to move). Because polio has no cure, vaccination is the best way to protect people and is the only way to stop the disease from spreading. The spread of polio has never stopped in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. After the spread of the polio virus had previously been stopped, it has been reintroduced and continues to spread in the Horn of Africa, Cameroon, and Syria. The CDC now alerts travelers about cases of polio cropping up in Somalia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Baghdad and...

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How I prevented altitude illness on Mt. Kilimanjaro

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HOW I PREVENTED ALTITUDE ILLNESS ON MT. KILIMANJARO I did the 5-day Marangu route up Kilimanjaro in December 2012. It’s 3 days of ascent and 2 days going down, so there’s absolutely no chance to acclimatize. This was the second time I’ve done this route. What to do: My best advice is to take a combination of acetazolamide (Diamox) and dexamethasone (Decadron) a steroid, plus use a salmetrol inhaler (Brand name Serevent Diskus). Acetazolamide: 250 mg twice daily. Start 1 day before ascent. Dexamethasone: 8 mg orally at bedtime. Start first night above 5,000 ft. Serevent: 1 inhalations twice daily....

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Have you given your kids their shots?

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Parents who refuse vaccinations are gullible and naive. They are taken in by non-scientific nonsense told to them by “friends” or that they read online. Controversies over vaccines are irrational. The link between measles vaccine and autism, for example, was concocted by a British physician paid large sums of money by lawyers searching for evidence to get money from pharmaceutical companies making the vaccine. The medical journal that published the report retracted the article yet gullible people still believe it.

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Going to the Amazon? This shot could be a life-saver.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

The disease yellow fever has a mortality of 40%. But this disease is preventable. Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for all travelers to the Amazon. It's a weakened live virus vaccine and probably gives lifetime immunity from a single shot. The shot needs to be given a minimum of 10 days before travel. If you can't get the shot, be sure to take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Use a repellent containing at least 30 % DEET, such as Ultrathon, available from our online store. Currently, a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required if traveling to some countries...

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Should you be afraid of vaccines? No!

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Are vaccines risky? The short answer is “No”—in fact, they are life-saving. The benefits far outweigh the risks. But some people (many of whom seem quite bright) have an irrational bias against “shots”—even to the extent of denying their children this protection. Some Facts: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine all agree that there's no relationship between autism and vaccines. A 2004 Institute of Medicine review included five large-scale studies that compared autism rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. These and other recent studies, including one published in TheNew England...

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Is hepatitis B a travel vaccine?

Posted by Stuart Rose on

The risk of hepatitis B in unvaccinated travelers is low.  The risk is primarily related to the traveler’s lifestyle. The hepatitis B virus (like HIV and hepatitis C) is spread primarily by exchange of body fluids (e.g., unprotected sex with a new partner) and unsterile, shared needles (injecting drug use, tattoos, body piercing). Since most travelers don't engage in these activities, I otherwise advise them not to get a medical injection overseas when there is the slightest possibility that non-sterile equipment may be used. Most medical facilities in lesser-developed countries can't afford disposable needles and reuse them. Some travelers elect...

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What is breakbone fever—and why you don't want it.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Dengue fever also known as breakbone fever, is a viral disease widespread in tropical and semi-tropical countries. It's found throughout the Caribbean and is also reported in southern Florida. A similar mosquito-borne viral illness, Chikungunya fever, is now also reported in the Caribbean. These illnesses cause sudden high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, headache and a rash. Acute symptoms last 7-10 days, but the joint pain may continue for weeks to months longer. Treatment consists of supportive care with fluids and analgesics. There is no vaccine. You need to prevent daytime mosquito bites using a skin repellent with at...

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