NY Travel Clinic

New travel vaccine recommendations

The CDC publishes CDC Health Information for International Travel (commonly called The Yellow Book) and updates it every two years as a reference for health professionals and those who want to stay healthy when they travel.   It provides up-to-date,country-specific information about travel vaccines and special health issues.

The CDC has updated its recommendations for yellow fever vaccination. Yellow fever is found in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa.  The disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of a virus-infected mosquito, and can be lethal. The risk for infection in West Africa is greater than the risk in South America.

The CDC recommends that although a single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to provide protection to most people, a booster dose is recommended for these groups:

Laboratory workers who handle wild-type yellow fever virus need to either have a 10-year booster or have yellow fever specific neutralizing antibody titers checked by the CDC every 20 years.

You must still follow country-specific rules of yellow fever vaccination requirements.

A reminder of typhoid fever vaccine recommendations

Typhoid fever is a life-threatening disease caused by the bacteriumSalmonella Typhi.  The new recommendations just highlight that there are only 2 vaccines, instead of three, but remind us to get vaccinated. In the United States, about 5,700 cases occur annually, mostly acquired while traveling abroad.  The CDC warns that “even short-term travel to high-incidence areas is associated with risk for typhoid fever.CDC recommends typhoid vaccination for travelers to many Asian, African, and Latin American countries, close contacts of chronic carriers, and certain laboratory workers.”

You should be vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travel, and if you receive the Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccine, you need a booster dose every 2 years.  If you receive the oral live-attenuated Ty21a vaccine, a booster is required every 5 years.  These are dosage and schedules for typhoid fever vaccination set by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, United States, 2015.

Other vaccine recommendations

The Yellow Book recommends “a single lifetime polio booster (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) for adults who have received the primary polio vaccination series and are travelling to areas where poliomyelitis is occurring.

All adults born in or after 1957 should have received two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine doses separated by ≥ 28 days.Patients born before 1957 are presumed to be immune,but double-checking antibody titers may be prudent if the patient is traveling to an outbreak area.”

You should receive a pre-travel consultation with a qualified doctor who will personalize your vaccines and preventative medications based on your specific destinations, travel duration, and your health status.  You will receive the latest recommendations and best options to keep you healthy while you travel.