florida infectious disease

In our globalized, modern, and mobile world, over 1 million people travel internationally each day. In many countries, vaccine preventable diseases are still common even though they have been eradicated from North America. Without vaccines, epidemics of many preventable diseases will return, resulting in increased illness and deaths and a lower quality of life.

Vaccination before travel is imperative to ensure global public health and to help individuals stay healthy during and after their travels. As such, Florida Infectious Disease Specialist is committed to ensuring maximum immunization coverage in all populations from children, to members of the workforce, to the elderly, and international travelers.

Travel and Specialty Vaccines

Florida Infectious Disease Specialist offers vaccinations recommended and required for international travel. In fact, we specialize in these hard to find travel vaccines, and our clinicians are highly trained in their proper administration, all at a competitive price.

Hepatitis A:
Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Worldwide there are an estimated 1.4 million cases of Hepatitis A infection every year. This highly contagious disease is spread through contaminated food and water including ice; breakdowns in sanitation due to natural disasters and floods; infected food handlers; ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated waters; ingestion of uncooked and unpeeled fruits and vegetables. Although rare, it can be transmitted through blood transfusions, sexual relations or needle sharing.

Distribution is global, but infection is most common in areas where sanitation is poor and food and water safety is questionable. Hepatitis A is endemic throughout the underdeveloped world and it occurs in pockets in developed countries as well. The risk of infection for travelers to developing countries increases with extended stays. Areas of elevated risk for Hepatitis A include Africa, Mexico, the Middle East, Central and South America, Asia, and the Caribbean. Hepatitis A virus is also present in the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Europe where the risk of infection is greater for those who visit rural areas, the back country, or those who eat or drink in areas of poor sanitation.

One hepatitis A booster vaccine is needed to provide lifelong protection. The CDC recommends giving this booster six to twelve months after the first dose is received. However, the vaccine will provide protection for those first six months before the booster is given.

Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B is caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted primarily through contact with blood or blood-derived fluids, often by unprotected sexual activity. Open skin lesions from scabies and scratched insect bites can play a role in transmission of the hepatitis B virus if direct exposure to wound exudates occurs. Hepatitis B can be easily transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions and through medical, dental or other exposure to contaminated needles (e.g. IV drug use, acupuncture, tattooing, etc.). Chronic Hepatitis B infection can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The hepatitis B vaccine requires two boosters in order to be fully effective. According to the CDC, one hepatitis B booster vaccine is given one month after the initial dose, the other after six months. Once all doses have been given, the vaccine will provide lifetime protection. Unlike some other vaccines, hepatitis B vaccination provides at least partial protection two weeks after the first dose. This means you can begin your series before your trip and complete it after.

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the polio virus. Progression to maximum paralysis occurs quickly over 2-4 days and it is usually associated with muscle pain and fever. Paralytic polio is fatal in 2-10% of cases.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) cases, although mostly non-existent in the United States, still occur in certain parts of the world. Risk of polio still exists in the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Uzbekistan. Polio is endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the CDC, three groups of people should receive polio boosters:

 -  Those who have never been vaccinated against polio will need two boosters. The first at 1-2 months and the second at 6 to 12 months.
 -  If you only receive one or two doses in the past, you will need the remaining one or two doses.
 -  If you have had three or more doses, a booster may be recommended.

Typhoid fever, or typhoid, spreads through contaminated food or water. Caused by Salmonella typhi, typhoid fever is an acute illness infecting about 21.5 million people worldwide. Typhoid fever can be fatal in up to 10% of reported cases. There has been an increase in the number of drug-resistant strains of Salmonella typhi since 1989. Unfortunately, drug resistance is spreading worldwide due to overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate control of infections and extensive international travel, trade and population movements. Humans are the sole hosts of the bacteria which is shed in feces from 6 weeks to 3 months after infection. Most common symptoms include fever, anorexia, abdominal discomfort and headaches.

There are two vaccines available to prevent typhoid fever:
1. Vivotif (Typhoid Vaccine Live Oral Ty21a) - Also known as “typhoid pills”, Vivotif is made from attenuated live bacteria. The vaccine provides up to five years' protection and is approved for use in individuals over six-years-old. Vivotif is taken orally over the course of four doses.

2. Typhoid Vaccine (Injectable) - Made from inactive bacteria, the injectable typhoid vaccine provides protection for up to two years. This vaccine is approved for use in individuals over two-years-old.

Yellow Fever:
According to the CDC, yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease present in Africa and South America. The infection can range from mild to severe. Vaccination is the best protection against this virus.
Mild symptoms of yellow fever include: fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal and muscle pains. More severe symptoms include hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever.
While yellow fever is not present throughout the globe, yellow fever vaccination is important because of the virus's high mortality rate.

Some countries like Ghana and Brazil require all or some travelers receive the immunization to enter the country.

Malaria in humans is caused by one of four protozoan species. All species are transmitted by the bite of an infected female mosquito. Occasionally Malaria transmission occurs by blood transfusion or congenitally from mother to fetus.

Most antimalarials act in the bloodstream to suppress clinical symptoms by inhibiting parasite development in red blood cells. Regardless of duration of stay in a Malarious area, antimalarials should be taken by all travelers. The regimen for all Malaria medications include the need to be taken before arrival, during the visit, and after departure from a Malaria risk area. This approach assures adequate blood levels of the drug, enables the traveler to switch to another drug in the event of side effects and gets the traveler in the habit of taking the drug on a regular basis. Because antimalarials do not actually prevent the disease, continued dosing with antimalarials after departure from an endemic area ensures that the drug will kill any lingering parasites.

TDAP (Tetanus, Diptheria and Acellular Pertussis):
The CDC recommends individuals, especially travelers, receive a TDAP booster vaccination every five to ten years.

There are two options for vaccination against these diseases: Diphtheria and Tetanus (Td) vaccine and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Tdap - Adacel) vaccine. Age and immunization history govern which is right for you and when you need them.

Pertussis or Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by Bordetella Pertussis that kills close to 300,000 humans every year. It is transmitted by direct contact with airborne discharges from infected persons. Most fatalities occur in the newborn population and infants in underdeveloped countries. Patients with respiratory Pertussis require hospitalization, immediate treatment with Pertussis antitoxin, appropriate antibiotics, and supportive care. Diphtheria and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) are more frequent in parts of the world where vaccination levels are low. It is recommended that all travelers receive a vaccine to protect themselves against Pertussis.

Are you up-to-date with your vaccinations for travel purposes? Ensure an early visit to our doctors for consultation to find out what vaccinations are recommended for the area you are visiting.

To make an appointment with our primary office, call 407-944-4900.