Immunizations for International Travel
Before your child travels abroad, make sure he is up-to-date with all recommended childhood vaccinations. Even though certain vaccine-protected diseases may be rare in the United States, they may occur much more often in other countries. Talk with your pediatrician about other immunizations that may be needed, depending on the parts of the world to which you and your child will be traveling, your planned activities, and the length of your stay. Your pediatrician may recommend vaccines to prevent, for example, hepatitis A, yellow fever, meningococcal disease, typhoid fever, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis.
- A vaccine for yellow fever is required by some nations before allowing entry into the country. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal disease that can occur year-round, primarily in rural parts of South America and sub-Saharan Africa. If possible, however, immunization for yellow fever should not be given to children younger than 9 months to reduce the risk of serious side effects, including vaccine-associated encephalitis or brain swelling.
- If a child is traveling to a part of the world where there are rabid animals and he is likely to be taking part in activities in which he might encounter rabid animals, you should consider rabies immunization. The rabies vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots.
- The influenza vaccine may be recommended, depending on travel destinations, the season of travel, duration of travel, and other factors. However, the strains that cause the flu in the United States may be different than those in other countries. This means that the composition of the vaccine needed for protection in other parts of the world may be different from the one generally offered in the United States.
- The Japanese encephalitis virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, is prevalent in parts of southeast Asia, China, eastern Russia, and the Indian subcontinent. A 3-dose vaccine is available and should be considered for people who will spend extended time in high-risk areas. There is no information on its safety and effectiveness in children younger than 1 year.
- Last Updated
- Immunizations ＆ Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.