D&M provides a high level of care and understanding when it comes to the standard vaccinations we all need.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a viral disease of the liver that can cause short term or lifelong infection and complications. Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination. It is recommended that people traveling to most countries outside of Canada are vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
• Vaccination for Hepatitis B is provided to students in Alberta in Grade 5. About ninety percent of vaccine recipients will be immune to Hepatitis B for life, but 1 in 10 people do not respond to the vaccine. It is possible to have bloodwork done to see if you are immune to Hepatitis B or if a booster may be needed.
• If you have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis B in the past, or, are unsure if you have been vaccinated you can safely use the EngerixB® vaccine. The EngerixB® vaccine protects against Hepatitis B and is given as a course of 3 injections. After the first injection, the second dose is given after one month and the third is given 6 months after the original dose. If you complete this injection regimen, you will be protected against Hepatitis B for 20 years or more.
• Twinrix® protects against both Hepatitis B as well as Hepatitis A. It is given as 3 a course of 3 injections. After the first injection, the second dose is given after one month and the third is given 6 months after the original dose. Completion of the Twinrix® vaccination regimen will provide protection for 20 years or more against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
- It is recommended that you receive 2 doses of Twinrix® before traveling. If you do not have at least 1 month to get the first two doses, you can receive a “fast track” schedule that involves 4 doses whereby the first two injections are given 7 days apart.
• Vaccination against Hepatitis B will provide you with the best protection against Hepatitis B.
• As Hepatitis B is spread by contact with infected blood, it is important to avoid tattoos, acupuncture and piercings while traveling.
• Travelers should be aware of the risk of contracting Hepatitis B through sexual intercourse and therefore protection should always be used.
What is meningococcal meningitis?
Meningococcus are are specific group of bacteria that can cause meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis is the inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and can cause death if it is untreated. Vaccines for meningitis are provided to Canadian children but some adults may want to consider a booster dose.
• The meningococcal vaccines prevent against the most common types of bacteria that cause meningitis, but do not protect against all types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.
• Most people have received a series of vaccines for meningococcal meningitis in childhood and therefore further vaccination is generally not needed for travellers.
- Individuals over the age of 24 who did not receive a booster as a teenager
should receive a booster dose
- Individuals who are at high risk of developing meningococcal disease
should receive 2 doses given 8 weeks apart and a single booster every 5 years.
- For a list of individuals who are at high risk for meningitis, see Table 2 subsection “Meningcoccal quadrivalent conjugate”
• Travelers to Saudi Arabia going to the Hajj or Umrah in Mecca are required to have vaccination for meningococcal meningitis within the past 10 days to 3 years. Ask your prescriber about which vaccine is best for you if you are traveling to these areas.
• Vaccination is the best way to prevent the development of meningococcal meningitis. In addition, avoiding persons who are sick may help reduce your risk of developing meningitis.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral infection that is transmitted through animal contact and can cause serious complications and death. If you suspect that you have rabies, you should seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is found all over the world and therefore it is important to seek medical attention after contact with an animal that may have rabies. Vaccination against rabies should be considered for travelers going to areas where rapid or adequate health care may not be available after exposure to rabies. It is important to seek medical attention before symptoms develop as it is possible to prevent the development of symptoms after a bite or a scratch.
• The rabies vaccine is given as a series of 3 vaccinations. These vaccines must be started at least 21 days before you travel and it is important to have all 3 vaccines before you travel to provide adequate protection.
- After completion of a full series of 3 injections, a booster dose will be required 1 year after the injections if there is risk of re-exposure to the rabies virus. Most people will have protection for 5 years after completing the initial series of 3 injections followed by 1 booster dose one year after the initial series of injections.
• It is important to seek immediate medical attention after contact with an animal that may have rabies whether you have had the series of vaccines or not.
• During your travels avoid petting or touching any animals including pets.
• Avoid touching wild animals that seem ill or unusually tame.
• Do not feed animals.
• Seek medical attention after any animal exposure even if the risk of developing
rabies is low.