Vaccination and Travel Information for Suriname

SURINAME

 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: Tropical and humid, cooled by the northeast trade winds. The best time to visit is February to April (short dry season) and August to October (long dry season). The rainy seasons last from November to January and from May to July. Surinam lies outside the hurricane zone and the most extreme weather condition is the sibibusi (forest broom), a heavy rain shower.Temperatures in Paramaribo are quite constant throughout the year, ranging from 23-35° Celsius throughout the year.
Capital City: Paramaribo
Altitude: At sea level
Main Cities: Albina, Brokopondo, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Nickerie
Population: 431,303 (July 2000 est.)
Land Area (sq km): 163,270
Currency: 1 Surinamese guilder, gulden, or florin (Sf.) = 100 cents
Languages: Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javan
Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%
Economy: Aluminum, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas



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 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.




Risk is present in the country throughout the year. Elevated risk occurs along the upper Marowijne River in the east, and in the three southern districts of the interior. In Paramaribo city and the other seven coastal districts, a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast, and areas of the interior above 1,300 meters elevation: transmission risk is low or negligible. Falciparum malaria accounts for 76% of cases, the remainder being due to P. vivax. P. falciparum resistant to chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine reported. Some decline in quinine sensitivity also 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 D2 medical 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.

Malaria map of Suriname




GENERAL
Medical care, including emergency medical care, is limited and does not meet western standards. There is one public emergency room in Paramaribo, and only a small ambulance fleet to provide emergency transport. As of November 2001, the emergency room is without a neurosurgeon, and other medical specialists may not always be available. Hospital facilities are not air- conditioned, although private rooms with individual air- conditioning are available at extra cost. Emergency medical care outside Paramaribo is limited, and is virtually non-existent in the interior of the country. Visitors are advised to bring prescription medicine sufficient for their length of stay and should be aware that Suriname’s humid climate may affect some medicine. Some prescription medicines (mainly generic rather than name-brand) are available. Cash payment is usually demanded. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

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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