Vaccination and Travel Information for Solomon Islands

SOLOMON ISLANDS

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No1 Fitzwilliam Street Upper Dublin 2 ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: Semi-tropical, mainly hot and humid, with little annual variation in temperature. The wet season, from November to April, can bring severe tropical storms.
Capital City: Honiara
Altitude: 30 metres above sea level
Main Cities: Aola, Auki, Gizo, Manu, Sepi
Population: 450,000 ( 2003 est.)
Land Area (sq km): 28,370
Currency: 1 Solomon Island dollar = 100 cents
Languages: Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population note: 120 indigenous languages
Religions: Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United (Methodist/Presbyterian) 12%, Baptist 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 7%, other Protestant 5%, indigenous beliefs 4%
Economy: Agriculture, fishing, forest products, copra, palm oil, cocoa



 The D2 Medical advises all travellers to be 'up-to-date' for:

CHOLERA Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
DIPHTHERIA We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

HEPATITIS 'A' Immunisation is strongly recommended but not compulsory.


HEPATITIS 'B' Immunisation is strongly recommended for travellers who will be in the area for 1 month or more.
Transmission of Hepatitis B is through sex or contact with contaminated blood, needles and syringes.


JAP.B.ENCEPHALITIS Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
POLIO Adults who are travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are occurring, or where the contracting the disease is possible, and who have received a primary series with either IPV or OPV should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.


RABIES Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
TUBERCULOSIS (TB) Immunisation is not compulsory, and is not routinely recommended for adults.
Children should be immunised at any age.
A skin test is available if immune status is in doubt, and this is recommended pre- and post- travel for those going to ‘at risk’ regions.


TETANUS We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is recommended.

YELLOW FEVER A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas, otherwise Immunisation is not required.




Malaria risk, predominantly due to P. falciparum, exists throughout the year except in a few eastern and southern outlying islets. Falciparum malaria predominates over Vivax malaria: 2:1. P. falciparum resistant to chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine reported.

There are five common medications for malaria prevention available in ireland. They are: chloroquine, doxycycline, malarone, mefloquine, paludrine. To determine the appropriate antimalarial, it is advised that the traveller discuss this with a Worldwise Travellers Health Specialist or other Travel Health Professional. None of the medicines are 100% effective against the disease at all times, and each has its own side effects. These need to be discussed with the intending traveller.

 

General Advice on Mosquito Prevention.
Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite, so recommend all travellers to the country to:

  • cover exposed skin after dusk when they are at most risk for getting bitten
  • use insect repellent with DEET in it.
  • return before dusk from country areas where malarial mosquitoes are the most active
  • sleep in screened room or use a bed net, remembering to tuck in the edges & spray inside.
  • sleep in air conditioned rooms or rooms with fans. Vapour pads and smoke coils also help. Insect buzzers are useless.

 




GENERAL
Hospitals and pharmacies in the Solomon Islands are limited to population centers and missions. The nearest reliable medical facilities are in New Zealand or Australia. Medical conditions resulting from diving accidents may require medical evacuation to either country. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalisation and/or medical evacuation to New Zealand or Australia can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Insurance for medical evacuation by air from Honiara is essential - especially for underwater divers. There are no decompression facilities in the Solomons.

Travellers are advised to take their own medications with them, as there are shortages of many basic drugs.

HEALTH, ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE
Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travellers under the age of 55. Most are caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; and to a lesser degree, drowning, aircraft crashes, murders, and burns.

Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travellers, but infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travellers. Generally, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.

Travellers are advised to obtain, before departure, travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should include a medical evacuation benefit. Check for any exclusions that are part of the policy, and keep in mind that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusion clauses. The D2 medical centre recommends that the policy also provide 24-hour access to an assistance centre that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care, and determine if air ambulance services are required.
                                                                                                                                               DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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