ADVICE ON VACCINATIONS FOR Mexico
Australian travel to Mexico grew 14% in 2013, with an average of 7 days for business trips and 14 days for holidays. When travelling to Mexico and South America, it is best to take precautions against the possibility of contracting a disease native to that region.
General Advice for Vaccinations in Mexico
This website only provides a general overview of needed vaccinations for Mexico. Consultation with your personal physician or with a Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor is still the best thing to do. Specific vaccination recommendations can then be made related to your age, condition, and your itinerary. When you consult, pay particular attention to:
- Your childhood immunization records and past booster shots
- Your planned destinations and travel methods
- Your activities and accommodations
- Your state of well-being and health before travelling
Required Vaccinations for Travel to Mexico
Luckily for Australians, many of the riskiest diseases you could contract in Mexico are often covered in Australia’s childhood immunization programs. After a consultation with your doctor about which vaccinations might have been missed and which booster shots might need to be updated, you should be ready to travel. Others might be needed as a precaution only. These are the most needed vaccinations before travelling to Mexico.
Hepatitis A and Typhoid
Hepatitis A is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food and water, and can be contracted anywhere in Mexico no matter what arrangements for food and accommodations have been made. It is normally included in childhood immunization.
Typhoid is a bacterial disease caused by contact with contaminated food and water. The likelihood of contracting the disease is higher if you are staying in the rural areas, or with family or friends. If you enjoy authentic food experiences on vacation, it is highly recommended that you be vaccinated against typhoid.
If your shots are not yet complete, the Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations can be given in a single shot, and it lasts for a few years. Consultation with the Travel Vaccination Clinic will tell you how to get the vaccination, and how to eat and drink safely (i.e. avoiding street vendors, drinking only bottled water). The likelihood of contracting other diseases caused by contaminated food and water, such as cholera or Hepatitis E, will then be lessened as well.
Hepatitis B is a risk to medical tourists, those who find a new partner in Mexico, or those who get a new piercing or tattoo on their travels. It is caused by contact with an infected needle or medical instrument, or through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as blood. This vaccine is particularly recommended for medical tourists, to lower the risks already involved with getting medical procedures abroad.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease, and has a high-risk in Mexico. A doctor can be consulted for prescription anti-malarial medicines that will help prevent malaria if taken before, during, and after your trip. You are more at risk if your itinerary includes constant travel outdoors, camping, or visits to rural or swampy areas. However, conditions are rarely so bad in Mexico that anti-malarials are advised.
For further precautions, if you are camping, keep the tent closed at all times, and make sure you check it before travelling for any holes. Keeping repellant on your skin whenever outdoors even in daytime, and before and while sleeping, is an effective deterrent. As much as possible wear long sleeves, particularly at night.
These will help prevent any other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue. Yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis are not risks in Mexico, but they are also mosquito-borne and these precautions will help lower any possible risks. Consult with a Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor for further suggestions about mosquito-borne diseases and other recommended vaccinations before you travel.
Rabies is caused by infectious bites from mammals such as dogs, cats, and bats. However, a rabies prevention vaccine is not needed unless you are travelling to the rural areas of Mexico, where the possibility of encountering stray animals or bats is more likely. Travellers to Mexico advised to get the rabies prevention vaccines are:
- Hikers, campers, and cave-explorers
- Veterinarians in Mexico for medical missions or student exchanges
- Wildlife experts
- Researchers working extensively outdoors
- Children, who tend to pet and stroke strange animals, and may be fearful of speaking up when bitten
Consultation for Vaccination
This general overview should help both you and the doctor you consult to narrow down the vaccinations you most need for travel to Mexico. A clear description of your planned destinations and activities is best, so you can be protected no matter where you go and what you plan to do, whether for business or pleasure.