Will I absolutely need immunization shots before I go to Siem Reap?
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Dec 10, 2012 8:20 PM Last Post By: Mickey_Mouse13
Dec 4, 2012 4:51 PM
Will I absolutely need immunization shots before I go to Siem Reap?I'm thinking about visiting Siem Reap to see a lot of Angkor temples and ruins. I will travel from Dec. 29th - Jan. 6th. I know that this is a great time to visit, not too hot, not too rainy. I am just worried about whether or not I will need to get shots for malaria, Japanese encephalitis, Hepatitis A/B, Typhoid, Rabies, etc.?
There is also a routine vaccine, which is recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
I was disappointed to come across this piece of information in an article about Cambodia:
Before visiting Cambodia, 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.
I would be planning to leave in about 4 weeks, so I would have to get my immunization shots right away. I was planning to just get them once I have already arrived in Siem Reap and just get them done there in the city before going out into the jungles. So having the shots done a few days before would be a waste of time then? Should I just have the shots done here in Beijing instead? What are the chances of me contracting malaria, dengue fever or any other disease/infection if I will be there for about a week during this time of year?
I really want to see this place badly, but I also need to keep my health in mind. Has anyone on here visited the Angkor temples/ruins during this time of year for a week or so, without getting the immunizations and didn't get sick?
I would appreciate anyone's help with this.
Here is the link to the site I looked at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/cambodia.htm
Dec 4, 2012 5:33 PM
1You got to be joking??????
I have lived here for almost 4 years (and been in SE Asia a lot longer than that). The shots I have are Hepatitis, Tetanis, and Typhoid.
There are no shots for Malaria and there is virtually no Malaria in SR. Japanese Encephalitis is only a problem if you go around kissing pigs and such. Rabies shots give you no immunization, they just buy you extra time if you are in a remote area (which SR is not). Do be careful with the monkeys around Angkor and do not feed them.
I am no Doctor but don;t sweat it.
just get them done there in the city before going out into the jungles
I will travel from Dec. 29th - Jan. 6th. I know that this is a great time to visit
The weather will be good but the place will be packed.
Dec 4, 2012 5:34 PM
2You should be up to date with all your routine vaccines, as otherwise you could contract an easily avoidable disease. You'll struggle to get malaria shots as this is normally done in tablet form. Hep A/B is important as it is contracted by bodily fluid exchange and I'm always up to date with Typhoid. Personally I've never bothered with Japanese encephalitis or Rabies and never had a problem.
Of course you can visit and not get sick but the chances are increased that you will. Use some common sense.
But I'm no doctor.....the best thing to do is go and see a Doctor right away they will then be able to get you sorted out.
Dec 4, 2012 5:52 PM
3Yeah, don't try to pet the cute little puppy. Current on your country's immunizations and very important - hepatitis. I'm guessing the greatest health risks for travelers include STIs ("Uh, I have these warts on my penis" - talk about a romance stopper!), dengue, stupid injuries such as riding a moto wearing flip-flops, and of course, gastrointestinal distress (be sure it's really gas you're about to pass).
Dec 4, 2012 5:56 PM
4be sure it's really gas you're about to pass...
As MrNicky once said, never fart in Asia ....
Dec 4, 2012 6:26 PM
5I've heard someone in a DRs surgery rattling off that list of vaccinations for a what was supposedly a weeks trip for a teenager to Kuala Lumpur. Took me all my time to not tell them it was pure overkill.
Dec 4, 2012 6:31 PM
6@hanno - I have been living and working in both Japan and China for the past 4 years. Forgive me for not knowing much about a country I have never been to in my life. It seems since you have been there so long and have had no trouble with Malaria, so I will not worry about the pills for it since I will not be there long.
My concern is steadily leaning towards the food and water there. As long as I am drinking bottled water and eating at clean looking restaurants (avoiding street food)...will I have no trouble?
"I have lived here for almost 4 years (and been in SE Asia a lot longer than that). The shots I have are Hepatitis, Tetanis, and Typhoid."
If I'm only visiting Siem Reap and the Angkor temples for a week, would you still recommend I get Hep A/B, Tetanis and Typhoid vaccines or should I not even worry about it? (I want to save as much money as I can for traveling).
The jungle I was referring to was Ta Prohm and the area around it. Ta Prohm is located in a jungle right? It looks like it, based on photos.
Anyway, I appreciate everyone's help with this.
Dec 4, 2012 6:40 PM
I would not even worry about the food too much. By all means drink bottled water, I do (most of the time). Street food is no problem per se, just make sure you choose a restaurant that has a high turn-over. It indicates that food is good and that the food won;t be sitting in the fridge for ages. Some of the popular restaurants may not look that clean but you actually have less of a chance of picking up something nasty as they do great business.
Tetanus is a must wherever you live, unless you want to die of blood poisoning. Hepatitis A/B are also highly recommended wherever you are (it is compulsory for health workers in many Western countries). And having a Typhoid shot won't hurt.
No, there a few trees around Ta Prohm but it is no jungle by a long stretch.
Dec 4, 2012 6:57 PM
8"Tetanus is a must wherever you live, unless you want to die of blood poisoning. Hepatitis A/B are also highly recommended wherever you are (it is compulsory for health workers in many Western countries). And having a Typhoid shot won't hurt."
Ok well that sounds a little scary. Would I be able to get vaccines for this a few days before my flight to Siem Reap or do I need to get the vaccines like 4 weeks in advance? I am really worried about that now because I am not up-to-date with my vaccines at all. I just want to see the Angkor ruins without dying or getting sick haha.
So you are saying, just worry about getting vaccines for Hep A/B, Tetanus and Typhoid and don't worry about anything else yes?
I will be purchasing DEET in Siem Reap (if that is possible) and wearing long sleeves to avoid the whole dengue fever/malaria issue. You mentioned the chance of getting malaria is really low, but what about dengue?
Thanks so much for your help with this.
Dec 4, 2012 7:00 PM
Dec 4, 2012 7:22 PM
10Copied this off another site:
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers aged 1+. It should be given at least 2 weeks before departure. A booster should be given 6-12 months later to confer long-term immunity.
Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers, with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers, a course of 4 tablets, 1 being taken every other day.
Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all travelers if not previously vaccinated. The vaccine is usually administered on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule, although Individual clinicians may choose to use an accelerated schedule (for either the hepatitis B vaccine or Twinrix) (i.e., doses at days 0, 7, and 21) for travellers who will depart before the 6 months are up.
Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years, and is effective almost immediately.
Yellow Fever vaccine A single dose correctly given confers immunity in basically 100% of recipients, booster shots recommended every 10 years to maintain immunity. If a country requires the vaccine for entry, travellers must allow at least 10 days before entering the country for vaccination.
Japanese encephalitis For travelers who may spend a month or more in rural areas and for short-term travelers who may spend substantial time outdoors in rural areas, especially after dusk. For those age 17 or older, the recommended vaccine consists of a dose, followed by a second dose 28 days later, to be finished at least 1 week before departure.
Rabies vaccine is normally advised for people at high-risk of exposure. Vaccinating the entire population against a rare disease they are unlikely to ever encounter isn't practical, yet anyone could have an unexpected encounter with a bat or other potentially infected animal. On the other hand, Rabies is a big problem in many other countries, especially in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Not only is dog rabies common there, but postexposure treatment for humans may be hard to obtain. Vaccination may be recommended depending on your planned activities and length of stay. Contact with all animals, including dogs and cats, should be avoided when traveling abroad.
Dengue is not a big problem at the moment, it is more common in summer.
Deet based products are available at UCare and pharmacies in Siem Reap.
Just to keep things in perspective: we have had over 42,000 guests pass through the hotel I work in so far this year. None of them caught a serious disease whilst they were here. The most common ailments were crook stomachs, sprains from walking the temples, and hang-overs.
Again, I think you stress too much (are you Singaporean or American:-))
Dec 4, 2012 8:10 PM
11@hanno - I am from southern California. Some of these 42,000 guests must have visited without any vaccines. You mention that Tetanus is a must or I will die? So going to Cambodia, even for a short time without an immunization to tetanus is just asking for trouble it seems.
So that site reads that I need to have a Hepatitis B vaccine 6 months before traveling? I hope that isn't the case because I plan to flight there on Dec. 29th.
You didn't get a shot for Yellow Fever yes? I heard that isn't a big risk in the Siem Reap/Angkor areas. Yeah, I worry about my health.
I actually have gastro-intestinal issues. I have chronic gastritis that I take medicine everyday for before I eat. Would I be able to take these pills with me into Cambodia or will airport security not be understanding at all and just confiscate my stomach medicine?
Dec 4, 2012 8:36 PM
12Some of these 42,000 guests must have visited without any vaccines
that Tetanus is a must or I will die
Not sure about Souther California, but in Europe Tetanus shots are automatic when you are a kid. You then just need a booster every 10 years. Tetanus is a risk worldwide and if you do not have the shots than you want to get them in a hurry, regardless of whether you come to Cambodia or not.
You didn't get a shot for Yellow Fever yes
Well, I did but that was because I went to Tanzania. There is no Yellow Fever in Cambodia.
I be able to take these pills with me into Cambodia or will airport security not be understanding at all
You are not trolling, I hope? Why would customs or anyone else want to confiscate your meds?
Dec 4, 2012 8:40 PM
13A number of vaccines last 2 years. 10 years or for life. So when you do the first trip, it seems that you need a lot of vaccines, but for subsequent trips in following years you will need less or none.
I visit a travel doctor here at home and they recommend that Hep A and B, Typhoid and Tetanus are the standard minimum required for most developing countries and for most of south east asia.
I received the Hep A and B as a combined vaccine as a course of 3 shots at 0, 30 days and 6 months, which lasts for life.
I have a Typhoid shot every 2 years and Tetanus every 10 years.
I really don't think you need Rabies (just avoid dogs and monkeys). You definately don't need Jap. Enceph.
As for Malaria, I tend to err on the side of caution and I take tablets (Doxycycline). Its important to discuss malaria medication with a doctor, because some have some quite serious side effects.
Above all else, I would strongly recommend having a consultation with an experienced travel doctor.
Dec 4, 2012 9:00 PM
14No I am not trolling. I guess I am just used to how ridiculous the airport security is in the US. They were suspicious of my stomach medicine last year and were thinking about confiscating it from me no kidding! I couldn't believe it, as it was a common medicine. Anyway, I have had a tetanus shot when I was a child (no idea when though). I will have to ask my parents when I got my shots and for which diseases/infections. I know I got the Tetanus when I was a child. So I guess all I need is a booster? I don't mind just getting another shot, since there is no harm in it. Even if I got all my shots as a child...that was a really long time ago. I'm assuming it would be best just to get the shots for Tetanus, Hep A/B, and Typhoid again?
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