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HEALTH AND SAFETY

TRAVEL HEALTH & SAFETY: MALAYSIA

Preparing for Your Trip to Malaysia:

Before visiting Malaysia, you may need to get the following vaccinations and medications: (Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history).

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.

CDC recommends that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. If you have a medical condition, you should also share your travel plans with any doctors you are currently seeing for other medical reasons.

VACCINATIONS:

Routine vaccinations - Be sure you are up to date with:
Influenza
Chickenpox
Polio
Measles/Mumps/Rubella

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases:
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Typhoid
Japanese encephalitis
Rabies vaccination (only recommended for certain travelers.)

INSECT BORNE DISEASES:

MALARIA is only present now in rural areas of Malaysian Borneo, and to a lesser extent in rural areas of peninsular Malaysia. There still remains a small risk of contracting malaria in urban Malysia and you may want to consider prophylaxis.

http://www.who.int/topics/malaria/en/

DENGUE FEVER - Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus. Dengue is a major health risk in Malaysia. The most effective protective measure is to avoid mosquito bites.

http://www.cdc.gov/Dengue/

Chikungunya, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases.
PREVENT INSECT BITES:

* Wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outside, whenever possible.

* Using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET.

* Sleep in beds covered by nets treated with permethrin, if not sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room.

* Spray rooms with products effective against flying insects, such as those containing pyrethroid.

* Take a prescription antimalarial drug (Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. are effective in Malaysia).
Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Malaysia and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.

If you decide to use anti malaria prophylaxis you should purchase your antimalarial drugs before travel. Drugs purchased overseas may not be manufactured according to United States standards and may not be effective. Halofantrine (marketed as Halfan) is widely used overseas to treat malaria. CDC recommends that you do NOT use halofantrine because of serious heart-related side effects, including deaths.

Travelers may still develop malaria up to a year after returning from a malarious area. You should see a doctor immediately if you develop a fever anytime during the year following your return and tell the physician of your travel.

FOOD AND WATER BORNE DISEASES:

BE CAREFUL ABOUT FOOD AND WATER:
Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).

* Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.

* Make sure food is fully cooked.

* Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized

INJURIES:

Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from these injuries by:

* Wearing your seat belt

* Wearing helmets when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.

* Not getting on an overloaded bus or mini-bus.

* Hiring a local driver, when possible.

* Avoiding night driving.

RABIES:

PREVENT ANIMAL BITES & SCRATCHES:
Direct contact with animals can spread diseases like rabies or cause serious injury or illness. It is important to prevent animal bites and scratches.

* Be sure you are up to date with tetanus vaccination.

* Do not touch or feed any animals, including dogs and cats. Even animals that look like healthy pets can have rabies or other diseases.

* If you are bitten or scratched, wash the wound well with soap and water and go to a doctor right away.

* After your trip, be sure to tell your doctor or state health department if you were bitten or scratched during travel.

OTHER HEALTH RISKS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA:


The following are disease risks that might affect travelers, and how to lessen your chances of contracting them; this is not a complete list of diseases that can be present. Talk to your physician.

Avian influenza (H5N1) continues to cause outbreaks in domestic and wild bird populations and has caused human cases in several countries in Southeast Asia. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.

Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by several species of fluke. Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection often contracted through recreational water activities in contaminated water, such as kayaking, is common in tropical areas of Southeast Asia. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) to avoid infection.

HIV/AIDS: To avoid infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing, or injections and always use latex condoms.

Fungal and parasitic infections: keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, especially on beaches where animals may have defecated.

After You Return Home:

If you are not feeling well, you should see your doctor and mention that you have recently traveled. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

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.


For more information see:
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION - http://www.who.int/en/
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE - http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_960.html
CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL - http://www.cdc.gov/