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Travel Medical Advice for Antigua & Barbuda

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Antigua and Barbuda (Caribbean)

Immunisations

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: tetanus; hepatitis A.

Courses or boosters sometimes advised: diphtheria; hepatitis B.

Yellow fever certificate required if over 1 year old. entering from an infected area.

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.

Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and water, causing liver inflammation and jaundice. It is commonly found in overcrowded conditions where hygiene is poor.

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.

Malaria

Malaria not normally present unless the illness was contracted abroad

Other Diseases Found in the Caribbean

Risk can vary between countries within this region and also within a country; the quality of in-country surveillance also varies.

The following are disease risks that might affect travelers; this is not a complete list of diseases that can be present. Environmental conditions may also change, and up to date information about risk by regions within a country may also not always be available.

Dengue epidemics have occurred on many of the Caribbean islands.  Most islands are infested with Aedes aegypti, so these places are at risk for introduction of dengue.  Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent this disease.

In 2006, malaria (falciparum) was confirmed in travelers to Great Exuma, Bahamas, and Kingston, Jamaica, areas where malaria transmission typically does not occur.  An outbreak of eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis occurred in travelers to Jamaica.

Cutaneous larval migrans is a risk for travelers with exposures on beaches and leptospirosis is common in many areas and poses a risk to travelers engaged in recreational freshwater activities.  Such activities may include whitewater rafting, kayaking, adventure racing, or hiking. Endemic leptospirosis is reported in Jamaica. Travelers to regions in Jamaica can reduce their risk to leptospirosis by avoiding activities which expose them to contaminated fresh surface water. Outbreaks of ciguatera poisoning, which results from eating toxin-containing reef fish, have occurred on many islands.

Endemic foci of histoplasmosis are found on many Caribbean islands, and outbreaks have occurred in travelers.

Anthrax is hyperendemic in Haiti but has not been reported on most of the other islands.  Haiti also has a high incidence rate of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates.

For more information, see the Geographic Distribution of Potential Health Hazards to Travelers and Goals and Limitations in determining actual disease risks by destination.

 


You can also check out the Travel advice for this Country from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website HERE

And don't forget to peruse our Travel Security Advice section for Antigua and Barbuda HERE......

Regards

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