Saudi Arabia experiences an influx of travelers during the holy month of Ramadan. Over 17 million Americans visit Saudi Arabia and its historical and religious sites every year. This country, with the holy city of Mecca, welcomes pilgrims annually. Some of these visitors bring more than a desire to do their religious duty when they come.
Because of the widely varied homelands of tourists and pilgrims on Hajj to Mecca, there is a wide variety of viral and bacterial infections from all over the world entering and exiting the country every year. Many of these diseases are contagious via blood, body fluids, food and drink, but may be prevented by certain medications and vaccines.
Polio still presents problems to many native Bedouin tribes and poverty stricken areas of Saudi Arabia, as are measles and other preventable illnesses. It is imperative that you are current on your routine vaccinations, or you could run the risk of contracting a deadly disease. Bring your shot records showing your latest proof of vaccinations for DPT, MMR, polio and varicella. If a booster is needed, Dr. Gafanovich can take care of it quickly and easily.
Saudi hospitals have improved over the last several decades, but many are still well below our standards at home. If you are injured or fall ill during your travels, you should know that your vaccines are at their fullest strength and can save your life. If at all possible, have your vaccinations and preventative medicine courses completed at least 4 to 6 weeks before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
As with travel to all foreign countries, it is strongly encouraged that you are inoculated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Both of these diseases are extremely prevalent in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Bring iodine tablets to sterilize your water, drink bottled water and be very selective about where your food comes from.
As with most countries in the Middle East and Africa, cities and towns are overrun with wild dogs and cats whose health is deplorable. It is not uncommon for packs of wild dogs to chase locals who are accustomed to seeing them on a daily basis and become complacent. Sometimes Americans can get scratched or bitten by rabies infected animals.
Rabies is an extremely deadly disease. A vaccination is the safest bet to prevent an infection. Rabies can sit in the system for months, during which time the disease incubates and finally becomes active. Once rabies begins to cause symptoms, there is no effective cure. Nearly everyone who presents symptoms of rabies dies of the disease.
Most travelers to Saudi Arabia do not anticipate the large numbers of mosquitos that pester the country. Where there is a sufficient water source, there will be mosquitos. Some of these mosquitos can spread Malaria. If you plan on visiting an area of Saudi Arabia that is affected by Malaria, let Dr. Gafanovich know.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.
There are several other diseases that are prevalent to the region, such as Leishmaniasis, West Nile Virus, Schistosomiasis, Meningitis and Avian Influenza. Dr. Gafanovich can advise you as to how you can avoid becoming infected. To learn more, or to make an appointment to begin preventative courses of medication and vaccines, contact us today.