Immunization for Belize?

Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 08:48 PM
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Immunization for Belize?

Planning a trip to Belize and have been reading some travel books. Lonely Planet suggested immunizations. Frankly, this wasn't something I'd considered. Any other travellers to Belize have comments?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2013, 10:35 PM
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Here are the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommendations for Belize:
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:41 AM
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I was in Belize in November in both jungle and island locations. I've taken a look at the link above and have the following comments:

Malaria: I am unable to take any of the malaria medications for a variety of reasons. I looked at the incidence in the areas we were visiting and felt the risk was minimal. My two travel companions did not get the shots either. We dressed to avoid bites and used insect repellant and did have a few bites, but mostly from sand fleas.

Rabies: I have lived in southern Ontario all my 65+ years where rabies is endemic in the wildlife population, and also camped across North America numerous times. I have never, ever, known or even heard about anyone who has contracted rabies. However, if contracted it is almost invariabley fatal, so if you get bitten by a bat, a monkey or a dog, get the shots after the fact as a precaution.

Re Hep A and Hep B, Dengue fever and perhaps some others, I suggest you visit a travel clinic and get their advice. Some of the shots are good for a very long time and therefore worth getting if there is more travel in your future. Take a record with you on your travels so you will know what you are protected against if there is an outbreak.

Essentially it is up to you to assess the risks and take what you consider to be sensible precautions.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:06 AM
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Hepatitis A is endemic in Belize (and all of Central America). So, it's always around. My personal thought is that everyone should be immunized against it, there are outbreaks in the US as well.

The vaccine is safe, effective for many years, and relatively inexpensive.

Hep A is easily spread via the fecal/oral route. All it takes is one food worker not washing his/her hands after using the bathroom, and you could be sick. No matter how meticulous your own personal hygiene is. There are lots of people who car carriers of Hep A out there.

If you're an adult, you can get the combined vaccine for Hep A and Hep B in the same injection. Although Hep B is harder to contract, it's blood borne/sexually transmitted, once again there are lots of carriers out there. Stopping to help a kid who fell and skinned his knee could put you at risk.

The vaccines are more than one injection. Two for Hep A, three for Hep B. Takes about a year for the full series, however, you will get pretty good immunity from the first injection.

There is no vaccine against dengue fever. Not getting bit by mosquitoes is your only recourse.

I'd speak to a physician who is familiar with travel medicine. My personal experience is that most follow the CDC guidelines, although rabies is rarely prescribed for Belize, unless you'll be doing a lot of caving.
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Old Dec 24th, 2013, 01:42 AM
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Our doctor recommended Hep A for anyone traveling to Central or South America so that's what we got. We had the first shot and had to go back for the followup shot months later. I was glad to get it because like Jean said, you can really contract that anywhere. We encountered some heavy duty mosquitoes in the San Ignacio area, but we just wore bug repellent each day and that worked for us.
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Old Dec 25th, 2013, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for your comments. I'm glad I asked the question and will look into this so I can relax and enjoy my trip.
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