International vaccinations: what to do before going away?
When to get vaccinated? And for which countries? How far in advance of departure? These are just some of the questions that most frequently concern people who are leaving for a trip abroad and who do not have a clear idea of the compulsory and recommended vaccinations.
To understand what you need to do, you need to gather information on mandatory vaccines worldwide and, depending on the country you visit, check those needed for your next trip. In addition, depending on the type of trip, length of stay and health conditions, vaccines against specific diseases (cholera, Japanese encephalitis, tick encephalitis, hepatitis A, yellow fever, typhoid fever, meningococcal meningitis, poliomyelitis and rabies) are recommended.
Compulsory vaccines abroad
At present, the diseases for which compulsory vaccination is required in many countries are yellow fever and malaria. Countries that require travellers over 1 year of age to enter the country with a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, French Guiana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Togo.
Other vaccines, however, are strongly recommended, such as those for hepatitis A or B, typhoid fever, diphtheria or tetanus, meningitis and other specific diseases in certain countries. Before the trip it is advisable to consult the competent ASL on the need to carry out vaccinations or prophylaxis as appropriate.
Since the risk for most international travellers is low, vaccination against cholera is recommended only for travellers at risk: workers or health workers who travel to disaster-stricken areas in endemic and epidemic areas.
Recommended for travellers travelling to Asia for at least one month during the rainy season or travellers staying in endemic areas for less than one month but carrying out risky activities such as hiking, camping, fishing and activities with prolonged outdoor exposure or remaining in rural areas, especially during the irrigation of agricultural land.
Recommended for all non-immune travelers who travel to countries or areas at risk, especially for stays in places without adequate sewage and with low levels of sanitation (the infection is particularly widespread in Africa, Asia, Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, Central and South America).
Recommended for all unvaccinated travellers travelling to countries or areas at risk (the infection is particularly widespread in Africa and Asia).
Yellow fever prevention
Recommended for all travellers to countries in Central, West and East Africa and South America where the disease is endemic. As we have seen, in some countries there is an obligation to apply for a valid yellow fever vaccine certificate, even just for airport transit.
Recommended for travelers who travel to endemic areas, especially when the stay is longer than one month
Recommended for all travellers travelling to sub-Saharan countries, especially those who stay in close contact with the local population for a long time, or in areas with ongoing epidemics. In addition, vaccination is mandatory for all travelers on a pilgrimage to Mecca (as required by Saudi Arabia).
Tick-borne anti encephalitis
Recommended for high-risk travellers (living or staying in rural or forest areas up to altitudes of about 1400 meters such as farmers, hikers, campers, etc..) who travel to endemic areas (currently the countries considered most at risk, based on the incidence of clinical cases, are the Baltic States, Slovenia and Russia).
Directions: Recommended for international travellers with a long stay (4 weeks or more) in areas affected by poliovirus circulation (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria).
Recommended for all travellers to endemic areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America with a risk of rabies exposure (travellers involved in activities that could bring them into direct contact with dogs, bats and wildlife).
International Vaccination Centre
When you have decided on your travel destination and booked your flight, check out the websites of the Ministry of Health and Travel Safe. The first thing you need to do is contact your family doctor or one of the vaccination centres in Italy at least 6-8 weeks before your flight.