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Vaccinations, Inoculations, Immunizations, Travel Health - India

Vaccination information for other places

Routine Vaccinations

Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Recommended Vaccinations

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to South Asia. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

Required Vaccinations

Diseases found in South Asia (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)

Malaria

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.

Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of the Indian Subcontinent, should take an antimalarial drug. NOTE: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in the Indian Subcontinent and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.

For additional information on malaria risk and prevention, see Malaria Information for Travelers to South Asia.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk for yellow fever in the Indian Subcontinent. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Food and Waterborne Diseases

Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout South Asia and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage ( hepatitis).

Additional information: see the Safe Food and Water page for a list of links.

Other Disease Risks

filariasis is common in Bangladesh, India, and the southwestern coastal belt of Sri Lanka. A sharp rise in the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis has been observed in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. In Pakistan, it is mainly reported from the north (Baltisan). Cutaneous leishmaniasis occurs in Afghanistan, India (Rajasthan), and Pakistan. Outbreaks of dengue fever can occur in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and the hemorrhagic form has been reported from eastern India and Sri Lanka. Japanese encephalitisoccurs widely except in mountainous areas. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases.

Polio is still endemic in India and Afghanistan. Rabies is common in the region and poses a risk to travelers, especially to rural areas.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection often contracted through recreational water activities in contaminated water is common in tropical areas of this region.

If you visit the Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least 15 SPF, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.

Other Health Risks

Injuries

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.

What You Need To Bring With You

Staying Healthy During Your Trip

Travelers should take the following precautions

To stay healthy, do...

Do not

After You Return Home

If you have visited a malaria-risk area, continue taking your antimalarial drug for 4 weeks (doxycycline or mefloquine) or seven days (atovaquone/proguanil) after leaving the risk area.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the physician your travel history.

Important: This document is not a complete medical guide for travelers to this region. Consult with your doctor for specific information related to your needs and your medical history; recommendations may differ for pregnant women, young children, and persons who have chronic medical conditions.

Date: July 19, 2005
Content Source: National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine