Vaccination and Travel Information for Colombia

COLOMBIA

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No 1 Fitzwilliam street upper dublin 2 ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: The climate is very warm and tropical on the coast and in the north, with a rainy season from May to November. This varies according to altitude. It is cooler in the upland areas and cold in the mountains. Bogota is always spring-like, with cool days and crisp nights ( temperature of 13-20 ° Celsius through the year, at an altitude of 2600 metres).
Capital City: Bogota
Altitude: 2600 metres
Main Cities: Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Medellin
Population: 41,008,227 (July 2002 est.)
Land Area (sq km): 1,138,910
Currency: 1 Colombian peso = 100 centavos
Languages: Spanish, over 100 Indian dialects
Religions: Roman Catholic
Economy: petroleum, coffee, sugar, cotton, bananas, gold, emeralds



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 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.

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 recommended for travellers who will be in rural or remote areas for 1 month or more at a time.


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 for travellers who will be in rural or remote areas for 1 month or more at a time.


YELLOW FEVER Vaccination is recommended for travellers who may visit the following areas considered to be endemic for yellow fever: middle valley of the Magdalena river, eastern and western foothills of the Cordillera Oriental from the frontier with Ecuador to that with Venezuela, Urabá, foothills of the Sierra Nevada, eastern plains (Orinoquia) and Amazonia.


* World Health Organization:
The following countries and areas are regarded as Yellow Fever infected areas:

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan (south of 15°N), Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.
America: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.




There is no risk of malaria in Bogota Department, the major urban areas, and the islands of San Andres and Providencia. Elsewhere, this disease is highly endemic countrywide year-round in rural areas below 800 meters elevation. Malaria risk, P. falciparum (37%), P. vivax (63%), is high throughout the year in rural/jungle areas below 800 m, especially in municipalities of the regions of Amazonia, Orinoquía, Pacífico and Urabá-Bajo Cauca. Transmission intensity varies from department to department, with the highest risk in Amazonas, Chocó, Córdoba, Guainía, Guaviare, Putumayo and Vichada. Chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum exists in Amazonia, Pacífico and Urabá-Bajo Cauca. Resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine reported in Amazonia, Orinoquia, and the Caribbean regions and the Cauca River Valley. Unconfirmed mefloquine resistance has been reported in the Amazonian region. Chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria is reported in all malarious areas. In addition, there are now reports of chloroquine-resistant vivax malaria.

 

Warnings:

  • All travellers are advised to ask their health professional about the side-effects of the various medications, as problems may occur with balance/fine skills, heart disease, blood pressure pills, epilepsy, mental illness and pregnancy.
  • Not all medications are suitable for everybody, neither are any of the recommended medications 100%effective. Other mosquito preventative measures are recommended in association with any recommended medication (see below).

 

Self Treatment Regimes:

  • Travellers who develop fever should seek immediate medical help. If Malaria is confirmed then self-treatment regimes are available. Travellers may wish to discuss these with their health professional BEFORE they travel. They are best used in association with a firm diagnosis of malaria (which may be done either by a laboratory of with the aid of a ‘rapid diagnostic kit’).

 

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.

Maleria Map of Colombia




GENERAL
Medical care is adequate in major cities but varies in quality elsewhere. Medical facilities are limited. We strongly recommend that all travellers take out adequate comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical treatment, accidents, repatriation, and unexpected losses such as cancelled flights, stolen cash, cards, passports or luggage.

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 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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