What you need to know about vaccines before you travel
Don't spend your precious vacation days delirious with typhoid.
As travelers plan an upcoming trip, from the meals to the spa treatments, some important basics often fall to the wayside, like researching which vaccines are recommended for that destination.
So before you jet off to your next vacation, check out this guide to vaccines, with information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Travelers should always check with their doctor, as the necessary treatments can vary based on age group and health history, as well as the planned travel activity.
Traveling to the U.S. or Canada does not require any special vaccines other than the routine vaccines that most people have had as children, such as measles, tetanus, and polio. Make sure all of your boosters are in order, and if traveling during the fall or winter, it's always smart to make sure you've had your flu vaccination.
Central and South America
In addition to the routine vaccines, visitors to South America should get a hepatitis A and a typhoid vaccine, as both can be transmitted via contaminated food.
Zika virus is present in parts of central and South America, and while there is no vaccine, travelers can take precautions by avoiding standing water and wearing mosquito repellant. Pregnant women may prefer to opt out of these locations, as Zika in pregnant women has been linked to microcephaly in children.
Visitors to most countries in Western Europe will not require any additional vaccines beyond the routine ones. The CDC recommends visitors to some eastern European countries such as Romania also get vaccinated for hepatitis A, as it can be transmitted via contaminated food or water.
For all countries in Africa, the CDC recommends yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid vaccines. Polio and meningitis boosters may also be necessary depending on which region of Africa you are visiting.
Visitors to most African countries will also want to protect against malaria by taking anti-malarials, usually for a short period of time before, during, and after a trip. As in South America, visitors to countries in Africa affected by the Zika virus — such as in Western and sub-Saharan Africa — should take precautions against the mosquito-borne virus or avoid certain destinations if pregnant.
Many people travel to Africa for safaris or to spend time with animals in the wild, and a rabies vaccine is often recommended in these cases. Cholera is also a risk in certain countries.
In most Asian countries, the CDC recommends hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines for visitors. Travelers who are staying more than a month or spending prolonged periods in rural areas of some parts of the continent may want to consider a Japanese encephalitis vaccine as well, as it can be transmitted via needles and mosquitos.
Cholera is a risk in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, India, and Bangladesh.
Vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid fever are recommended for most travelers. Polio and cholera, which have been all but eradicated in Western countries, still exist in places such as Afghanistan, and travelers may be encouraged to get vaccinated against them or to get a booster shot if they haven’t already done so as a child.
Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most Caribbean islands, particularly if travelers are set to visit rural areas.
Cholera remains a risk in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Visitors to Haiti are also often encouraged to take anti-malarials.