ADVICE ON VACCINATIONS FOR ECUADOR
Ecuador has only recently become a popular travel destination for Australia. Ecuador’s tourism sector is currently booming. Australia also has a number of residents who are also of Ecuadorian descent, which strengthens the ties between the two countries. Ecuador’s tropical environment provides an awesome travel destination–as long as you have the right vaccinations for the country.
General Advice for Vaccinations in Ecuador
Remember, this overview only covers the basic vaccinations you need to have before going to Ecuador. You still need to consult a Travel Vaccination Clinic physician to give you a general assessment of any additional vaccinations you need. The physician can also add specialized advice on how to protect yourself from other diseases in Ecuador.
Required Vaccinations for Travel to Ecuador
Yellow fever, like malaria, is spread through the bite of a mosquito. You need to guard against the yellow fever mosquito throughout the day. It bites between the start of the day and the end. Even worse, it can be found in both rural and urban areas.
Ecuador is one of the most at-risk countries for yellow fever, according to the World Health Organization. For that reason, travelers older than 9 months are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated, especially if they are traveling in the urban areas and the lowlands.
Ecuador requires a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination for every entering traveler. The Travel Vaccination Clinic is accredited to provide the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. The certificate is valid for 10 years.
The vaccination against yellow fever should be taken earlier than 10 days before your travel. Ask your Travel Vaccination Clinic about the recommended vaccination and the certificate.
Hepatitis A is transmitted by a non-airborne virus, and attacks the liver. The virus is usually non-lethal, but in some very rare cases it can cause liver failure and death. Even if you recover, it will take weeks, and in some cases, months. Because Hepatitis A is not airborne, it is usually transmitted through unfiltered or inadequately sanitized water or food.
Basic non-vaccination prevention would be through constant sanitation of hands (especially before eating) and other areas, and drinking and eating only bottled water and food prepared by trusted sources. The simpler way would be to get the vaccination before leaving Australia.
Hepatitis B is also a non-airborne viral disease that attacks the liver. It is more severe than Hepatitis A, and you can still get Hepatitis B if you have already had Hepatitis A. Unlike the above version of the virus, Hepatitis B is contracted through direct contact with blood, saliva, or other body fluids of an infected person. Prevention is harder than basic sanitation, so make sure you have the vaccination.
Fortunately, present day childhood immunization programs should already have included this vaccine since birth. Make sure the program was strictly followed when you were younger, and check for any needed follow-up vaccinations. The older you are, the less you are at risk of contracting the disease even if you have not been vaccinated.
There is only one mosquito which transmits the malaria parasite, called the Anopheles mosquito. It also infects the liver, since the parasite settles there and then multiplies itself by ten thousand. After 2 weeks, it enters the bloodstream to infect the entire body. The symptoms begin like flu: headaches, fevers, vomiting.
Malaria is usually spread in rural areas, where there are fewer people. The mosquito usually bites only between 9 in the evening and 5 in the morning, so basic prevention includes tight mosquito nets and mosquito repellant at night. Depending on your surroundings, you can also opt for long-sleeved clothes.
There is no malarial vaccine yet, but antimalarial drugs are available. Consult your Travel Vaccination Clinic physician for the best drugs to take with you to Ecuador. They may also be able to give you added advice on how to prevent malaria while there.
Rabies is a virus inflicted by the bite or scratch of an infected animal. If you have an open wound, and infected saliva or mucous touches it, it can also transmit the virus. Rabies is always fatal. In Ecuador, the record of vaccinated animals is much less than that of developed countries. Avoid strange animals altogether.
You can also ask your Travel Vaccination Clinic physician about getting vaccinated against rabies. There are now vaccinations developed that can protect you against contracting rabies if you are bitten.
Consultation is Part of Prevention
Thorough consultation with a Travel Vaccination Clinic physician is the best way to equip yourself against preventable diseases in Ecuador. Let the physician know where you will be going, where you plan to stay, how you plan to get there, and who you plan to meet.
Such information disclosure is for your own safety. They can tell you if you are getting the right set of vaccinations, and if there are others you might need (based on where you are going). That way, you can enjoy your trip to Ecuador without too many health concerns.