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For a person who expects to travel all over teh Former Soviet Union this year, what vacinations do you advise and what kind of self help medical pack do you advise to take? Thank You.
The many countries that make up the FSU / the CIS - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan - have some common characteristics when it comes to health risks but also some that are widely different. In addition, risks depend very much on how you will travel, how long you will stay, and what budget you are travelling on. In general, you need as an absolute minimum Hepatitis A & B immunity, Diphtheria and Polio boosters and a Tetanus booster if you are not up-to-date. In addition you may need to consider the following: Japanese B Encephalitis Rabies - recommended if quality medical care may not be available within 24 hours of being bitten or scratched by an animal Tickborne Encephalitis - recommended if visiting forests, fields or pastures or if consuming unpasteurized milk products Typhoid Malaria - There is no malaria in Russia but in other CIS countries there is a variable risk. You should have comprehensive medical and evacuation insurance with a 24-call number for a medical assistance company that has on-the-ground infrastructure and personnel and Russian language capability; this assistance company should also tell you in writing - according to your itinerary - what other disease risks there are and what the relative risks are. For example, a business trip to Kiev is a considerably less risky event than 3 months at Chelyabinsk; 2 weeks in Baikonur has a much different risk profile than 2 days in Almaty. Some other diseases can be risks to independent and adventurous travellers but one really needs to know more detail before one can say how likely the risk is (for example - anthrax, brucellosis, leptospirosis, typhus, tick-borne relapsing fever, tick-borne encephalitis, trichinosis, tuberculosis, tularemia etc. You should bring in 3 months' supply of prescription medicines, and depending on where you are going in the CIS, a sterile needle / / injection / suture pack for emergency treatment. These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.
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