what shots for Botswana

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Jun 5th, 2004, 07:15 PM
  #1
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what shots for Botswana

I'm going to Botswana, Caprivi (Mudumu Nat Park) and Hwange Nat Park in Zimbabwe in Aug/Sept with OAT. CDC says Typhoid, Hep A, Polio and MMR, and DTP are all needed as well as Malaria prevention. Are most people getting all these? Where does one get them at the lowest cost? Are they covered by insurance? Also as I am an avid birder, what is the cheapest way to get a bird guidebook for this area? Thks in advance for yr replies, this is a great site!
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Jun 6th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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I don't think any are actually required - in the sense they won't let you into the country if you can't show you've had them. They all are certainly a good idea.

As to insurance covering them, that seems to be a 50-50 proposition. Our insurance, to date, has not covered them. It looks like they may relent on the so-called childhood vaccinations - not so Malarone (for malaria prevention). They did assure us we'd be covered for Malarone if we GOT malaria?! Other posters have had these things covered with their applicable co-pay.

A very good book on birds you're likely to see is "Birds of Africa South of the Sahara" by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan. It's a Princeton Field Guide ISBN 0-691-11815-9. I got mine at Barnes and Noble on-line (bn.com).
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Jun 6th, 2004, 04:20 AM
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Nypiper: No shots are required but the malaria pills are recomended. Don't expect them to always work however. My father owns a ranch in Zim and runs safaris in Zim, Botswanna and Tanzania and a few of his customers have still contracted Malaria (one of his Pro hunters as well). As for insurance, Blue Cross of NE PA does not cover them. You should either ask your MD or call the local hospital for info.
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Jun 6th, 2004, 05:11 AM
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nypiper - The recommendations are for "travelers" to various destinations. And since most of us are old enough that the Polio we got at kids is no longer viable, it is suggested.

However, you should discuss this with your own personal physician if they have a background in tropical deseases, or visit a travel clinic.

Most travelers do get a Tetanus inoc (good for 10-years), Hep-A (this is two inocs, the 2nd between 6/mo to 1-yr from the first, then good for 10 yrs) for food born illness, such as a food preparer not washing their hands; this serves you well at home if you think about restaurants you might visit. And a Polio booster (should last the remainder of your life). And, of course, the malaria meds.

Unless you were traveling for the Peace Corps or an NGO working in-country for over 3/months, the others are not needed.

If you are covered by an insurance plan your personal physician can probably provide the Tetanus, Hep-A and Polio - and hopefully they won't code it on the insurance form for "travel", rather just to "bring you up-to-date on preventive health measures". If not, these can cost more than your office co-pay.

Your own physician can also write a script for the Malarone tabs - you'll probably need about 20+/-, as you start taking these 2-days prior entering the area, then daily while in-country, then for a week upon return home. Best if taken same time daily, with dairy product (milk, yogurt). If you have a drug plan, these should be covered, otherwise, the price runs about $100-$120.

Taking malaria tabs alone though isn't enough. You must remember that mossie biting time is beween dusk-to-dawn, wear long pants, long sleeves and socks and use repellent with deet on exposed skin. Remember to wash off before retiring for the evening and if your tents/lodges provide mosquito netting, sleep under this and use spray (usually provided) in your room/tent.

But you MUST discuss this with your physician who knows your health history and familiar with travel to these areas, OR a tropical deseases specialist who also knows your health history.

If you have to find a Travel Clinic, check with hospitals in your area, or standalone Travel Clinics. And there is always the Public Health services as a resource.

Not only will these inocs serve you for this trip, but for many others you take over the coming years.
 
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Jun 9th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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As far as insurance goes...ours covered nothing and our doctor would or could not give any of the shots or the malaria pills. We have always used "Passport Health." Don't know if there is one in your state...very good..but NOT cheap!
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Jun 9th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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We also checked the CDC website. We had decided to be more safe than sorry. We took all of the preventive injections as well as Malarone. You can still get Malaria while on Malarone - so still try not to get biten.

Our insurance did cover all of our meds with a co pay - so call your insurance company and ask.
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