Vaccination and Travel Information for Honduras

HONDURAS

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


Climate: The climate is tropical, with cooler, more temperate weather in the mountains. The north coast is very hot with rain throughout the year, and though the offshore breezes temper the climate, the sun is very strong. The dry season is from November to April and the wet season runs from May to October.

The average temperatures remain fairly constant all year round at 25-30°C.
Capital City: Tegucigalpa
Altitude: 960 metres above sea level
Main Cities: Ceiba, Choluteca, San Pedro, Sula
Population: 6,560,608
Land Area (sq km): 112,090
Currency: 1 lempira (L) = 100 centavos
Languages: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
Economy: Coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, meat, zinc, lumber



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 staying in agricultural, remote or rural areas for 1 month or more.


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, particular for all long term travellers to the region.

YELLOW FEVER A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas.

* 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.




Malaria risk, predominantly due to P. vivax, is high throughout the year in 223 municipalities. Transmission risk is low in the other 71 municipalities. Risk of malaria primarily in rural areas below 1,000 meters elevation, including municipalities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Most cases occur in the coastal lowlands along the border with Nicaragua. P. falciparum risk is the highest in Sanitary Region VI, including in the Islas de la Bahía. Falciparum malaria may occur along the Nicaraguan border and in the Caribbean coastal region, but chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum has not been reported.

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.

Malaria map of Honduras




GENERAL
Medical care in Honduras varies in quality. Facilities for advanced surgical procedures are not available. The islands of Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja do not have a general surgery hospital. There is a decompression chamber on Roatan for divers. While medical professionals are generally competent, many health facilities face shortages of medical supplies and bed space. Many medications are unavailable so travellers to Honduras should bring with them any prescribed medicine in its original container and in amounts commensurate with personal use. A copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing doctor explaining the need for prescription drugs facilitates their entry into the country.

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.

 

Yellow Fever Map

 

                                                                                                                                             DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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