Vaccination and Travel Information for Syria

SYRIA

 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: Syria's climate is varied, from Mediterranean in the west, to arid desert conditions in the east. The west has hot, arid summers, and mild rainy winters. Summers are hot and try; winters are cold, with snow in the north. Average temperatures in Damascus range from 21°C to 43°C in August and from -4°C to 16°C in January
Capital City: Damascus
Altitude: 700 metres above sea level
Main Cities: Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Latakia
Population: 16,305,659
Land Area (sq km): 185,180
Currency: 1 Syrian pound = 100 piastres
Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely
Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in
Economy: Petroleum, textiles, fruits and vegetables, raw cotton, sheep



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.


MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS Immunisation for travel to Syria is not required.

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 rural areas for 1 month or more at a time, or all those planning an extended stay in the country.


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.

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.

TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be living in rural areas for 1 month or more.


YELLOW FEVER A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas.




Malaria risk, exclusively due to P. vivax, exists from May through until ( with a peak in July and August ) October in foci along the northern border, especially in the north-eastern part of the country; below 1,100 meters elevation in rural areas (except As Suwayda and Dayr az Zawr Provinces), particularly in the northern provinces bordering Turkey and Iraq. Urban areas are generally risk free.

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 Syria

                                                                                                                                DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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