Traveling to the Philippines? Here’s CDC’s Recommended Vaccines

Traveling to the Philippines? Here’s the Center for Disease Control, CDC’s, recommended vaccines for traveling to the Philippines.

The Zika Virus

The Zika Virus is endemic in the Philippines, and the risk to travelers is unknown but likely lower than in areas where Zika is newly introduced and spreading widely.

“Endemic”: These countries have reported cases of Zika in the past and may report occasional new cases. A large number of local residents are likely to be immune, so occasional cases may occur but generally not in numbers large enough to be considered an outbreak.

Because the risk to travelers is likely much lower in these countries than in epidemic countries, travel notices will not be posted unless the number of cases rises to the level of an outbreak.

Because of the risk of birth defects in babies born to women who were infected with Zika while pregnant, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their doctor and consider postponing nonessential travel to the Philippines.

Zika Virus Testing

Zika virus testing should be offered to people with symptoms of Zika virus disease, including pregnant women and others who develop symptoms during or following travel to the Philippines. Travelers to the Philippines should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to the Zika virus

ALL TRAVELERS to the Philippines

Make sure you are up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, chickenpox and polio.

Our niece and nephew contracted chickenpox last year; chickenpox can be more serious in adults than in children. Adults with the virus are more likely to be admitted into the hospital.

MOST TRAVELERS to the Philippines

There is a risk of Hepatitis A and Typhoid in the Philippines. CDC recommends these vaccines because you can get these diseases in the Philippines through contaminated food or water, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

If you are a single guy heading to the Philippines and plan to have sex with a new partner, the CDC also states most travelers should consider getting the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual contact and is recommended for those who might be exposed to blood or other body fluids.

You can also get Hepatitis B through contaminated needles, tattoos or piercings or if you have any medical procedures.

Typhoid vaccine is recommended for most travelers

The typhoid vaccine is especially recommended for those visitors who are staying with friends or relatives; visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water; or prone to “adventurous eating”

After over living in the Philippines for over eight years I wholeheartedly agree with the CDC 100% regarding the risk of contaminated food or water here.

“Adventurous eating?” I’ve eaten balut, a boiled duck egg with a small embryo inside and grilled chicken intestines. I draw the line at eating dog, however, since we have eight pets of our own that are canines.The Kano eating balut in the Philippines

SOME TRAVELERS in the Philippines

The CDC states on their website that you might need the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine if you plan to stay more than a month in the Philippines. This disease is caused by the bite of infected mosquitoes (primarily Culex.)

The vaccine should also be considered, according to the CDC, to those travelers spending a substantial time outdoors in rural or agricultural areas; staying in accommodations without air con, screens, or bed nets.)

Travelers to an area with an ongoing outbreak of Japanese encephalitis and travelers to endemic areas who are uncertain of specific activities or duration of travel should also consider obtaining the vaccine.

Malaria: Antimalarials are recommended for travelers to malaria risk areas in the Philippines: rural areas on the islands of Basilu, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Palawan, Sulu (Jolo), and Tawi-Tawi. None in Manila and other urban areas.

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats and other mammals here. The CDC recommends this vaccine for travelers involved in outdoor and other activities that might bring them into direct contact with dogs,bats, and other mammals (such as campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travelers, and cavers.)

Animal bite treatment center at Guimaras provincial hospital

Rest assured, you’re likely to find a horde of stray dogs no matter where you travel in the Philippines. The only place in the Philippines where I did not see many wandering mutts was Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers.) and long-term travelers and expats should also consider getting the rabies vaccine. Children, too, should also get the vaccine because they are considered at higher risk.

How many shots did my wife and I get before moving to the Philippines?

None. We did visit our local hospital in America before we left for our new home and inquired about the different vaccinations. Since our health insurance did not cover the cost of the shots we decided to pass on them. I’m cheap. I believe the cost was going to be around 600 US Dollars total for both of us.

More than eight years later, my asawa and I have been fortunate to have never needed any of the immunizations or shots recommended by the CDC. Should you get yours before you move here? That’s entirely up to you.

Dengue Fever Dangers

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains.

Dengue fever, if left untreated, can be fatal.

My own dear wife contracted dengue fever and pneumonia almost two years ago. She spent two days in our local provincial hospital with an extremely low white blood count and could have developed internal  bleeding.

She, thankfully, recovered from her bout with dengue, which is transmitted by the female Aedes mosquitoes.

ambulance leaving guimaras provincial hospital

Dengue Vaccine Available in the Philippines

The Philippines was the first country in Asia to approve the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

Several hundreds of thousands of Filipino public elementary schoolchildren have already been inoculated with the vaccine which is said to guard against dengue serotypes 1 and 2, which are the most prevalent in the country.

The dengue vaccine, however, is only recommended for children beginning at age nine and adults no older than age 50.

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