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Travel Medical Advice for Afghanistan

 

Afghanistan_National_Flag

Afghanistan_OverviewAFGHANISTAN


 

Preparing for Your Trip to Afghanistan

Before visiting Afghanistan, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination: (Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities.)

To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it.

Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Afghanistan, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. If you will be traveling to one of these countries where yellow fever is present before arriving in Afghanistan, this requirement must be taken into consideration.

Immunisations

Malaria

Advice for All Destinations


The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse who will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.

Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. The 'T7' leaflet (from Post Offices) gives details of health care agreements between countries and is accompanied by an application form for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The completed form must submitted about 6 weeks before you plan to leave to allow the card to reach you on time. The EHIC entitles travellers to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries.

Immunisations


Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including vaccines given to special groups because of risk exposure or complications (e.g. hepatitis B for health care workers, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines for the elderly).

 


Courses or boosters usually advised: diphtheria; tetanus; poliomyelitis; hepatitis A; typhoid.

Vaccines sometimes advised: hepatitis B; rabies; tuberculosis; cholera.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.


Notes on the diseases mentioned above

Tetanus is contracted through dirty cuts and scratches and poliomyelitis spread through contaminated food and water. They are serious infections of the nervous system.

Typhoid and hepatitis A are spread through contaminated food and water. Typhoid causes septicaemia and hepatitis A causes liver inflammation and jaundice. In risk areas you should be immunised if good hygiene is impossible.

Cholera is spread through contaminated water and food. More common during floods and rainy seasons. Those unable to take effective precautions, for example, during wars and when working in refugee camps or slums may consider vaccination.

Tuberculosis is most commonly transmitted via droplet infection. BCG vaccination is recommended for travellers under 16 years of age who will be living or working with local people for a prolonged period of time (three months or more). Following individual risk assessment, vaccination may also be considered for travellers under the age of 35 years who may be at high risk through their occupation abroad eg healthcare workers.

Diphtheria is also spread by droplet infection through close personal contact. Vaccination is advised if close contact with locals in risk areas is likely.

Hepatitis B is spread through infected blood, contaminated needles and sexual intercourse. It affects the liver, causes jaundice and occasionally liver failure. Vaccination is recommended for those at occupational risk (e.g. health care workers), for long stays or frequent travel to medium and high risk areas, for those more likely to be exposed such as children (from cuts and scratches) and those who may need surgical procedures.
Rabies is spread through bites or licks on broken skin from an infected animal. It is always fatal. Vaccination is advised for those going to risk areas that will be remote from a reliable source of vaccine. Even when pre-exposure vaccines have been received urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal bite.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.

Malaria precautions

Malaria precautions are essential in areas below 2000m during the warm months May to November, especially following the rains which occur from March to June.

Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.

Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.

Chloroquine together with proguanil are usually recommended for those travelling to risk areas during the transmission season.

If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.

If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.

Areas of Afghanistan with Malaria: April–December in all areas at altitudes <2,000m (<6,561ft).

If you will be visiting an area of Afghanistan with malaria, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. Ways to prevent malaria include the following:

Taking a prescription antimalarial drug
Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites
Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or using bednets
All of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria in Afghanistan: Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please see Reasons for Considering or Avoiding Certain Drugs for the Prevention of Malaria.

Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Afghanistan and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.

To find out more information on malaria throughout the world, you can use the interactive CDC malaria map. You can search or browse countries, cities, and place names for more specific malaria risk information and the recommended prevention medicines for that area.

 


 

You can also check out what Travel Advice the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued for Afghanistan HERE

Access the CDC Worldwide Malaria Risk Map HERE

Access the CDC Malaria Info Page HERE

Please check out our travel warning section for this country HERE......

Regards

The SW Team...........