Going To The Caribbean? Check The CDC

There has been an upswing in cases of Yellow Fever. It’ now recommended that travelers over 9 months old who are going to Trinidad be vaccinated against Yellow Fever. The threat is less in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago. As with most tropical diseases, rural and forested areas have a higher rate of transmission.

 

What is yellow fever? Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus. It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The symptoms of yellow fever can vary from mild, flu-like symptoms to severe hepatitis (an inflammation of the liver) and hemorrhaging. Once the scourge of sub-tropical areas, Yellow fever has now been somewhat controlled and, in some places, virtually eliminated. That’s why its re-emergence is worrying.

 

The vaccine for yellow fever is relatively safe and requires only one dose. However, only some physicians are permitted to give the vaccine. Why? I don’t have an answer. If anyone out there knows, please leave a comment.

 

What got me thinking about this? Well, for one thing I get daily updates form the CDC (and I like to travel). Another reason is that I’ve been warily watching more and more bacteria and viruses becoming resistant to drugs. (See yesterday’s blog) I’m also aware of the anti-vaccination campaign in the US. See LINK for the recent court decision on vaccines and autism.

 

I stand in favor of vaccinations and opposed to the over-use of anti-bacterials (old fashioned good hygiene and a brisk wash with soap and water are still the best preventions). In today’s highly mobile and global world, disease can travel from one continent to another in a matter of hours. Vaccinations can mitigate much of the transmission of disease.

 

Do we need more research into safer vaccinations? Of course! But should we stop vaccinations among large segments of the population until these safer vaccines are found? I think not. We would put the health of the world too much at risk.

 

For more information on travel related diseases and recommended vaccination, see ht highly informative CDC site LINK

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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