Recommendations for Travelers going to Cuba 2007-8 Winter

Travelers staying for a short visit 1-2 weeks inside a destination resort should consider the following:

Tetanus Diphtheria (Td) should be up to date and given every 10 yrs.

Polio (IPV) This may also be combined with Td (Td-polio) or separate (IPV), and should be given every 10 yrs for travelers traveling outside North America. Because of the recent cases of Polio disease in the Dominican Republic all travelers are strongly recommended to consider polio vaccination boosters.

Hepatitis A vaccine is also strongly recommended. Hepatitis A is acquired from contaminated food or water and can make people very sick. The vaccine gives protection for 12 months. A second dose, which must be given no sooner than 6 months, will boost this protection to at least 10-20 yrs.

Hepatitis B is a different virus also causing hepatitis although it is acquired through blood and body fluids. It is more common, easier to catch and kills more people than HIV.Risk factors for Hepatitis B include: contact with bodily fluids, unclean needles, unprotected sex (although even condoms do not reduce the risk to zero), IV drugs, and blood transfusions. People who will be staying longer than 3-6 months in countries where Hepatitis B is very high are also recommended to have this vaccine.

Hepatitis B should be given in 2 full doses one month apart with a booster dose after 6 months.

All the different brands of Hepatitis A and B are equally effective. Some people prefer the pre mixed vaccine of Twinrex but if they use this one they must receive 2 full doses to be adequately protected against either Hep A or B.

Typhoid is more common in Cuba than in other Caribbean countries and should be considered for longer stays and especially for extended or off the beaten path travels. Injectable Typhoid (Typherix or Typhim Vi) is good for 3 years.

Other considerations: Dengue fever is a viral illness transmitted by daytime biting mosquitoes. At present there is no good vaccination or treatment. At times Cuba may have dengue. We recommend that you check if the area you are going to has dengue and take appropriate precautions. We recommend good clothing (light loose fitting and covering the limbs), DEET 30% applied to exposed skin, and Permethrin insecticide applied to clothing. Permethrin kills insects on contact but is safe.

Malaria is a severe parasite transmitted by night biting mosquitoes

THERE IS NO MALARIA IN CUBA THERE IS NO YELLOW FEVER IN CUBA

Traveler's Diarrhea is diarrhea caused during travel by exposure to bacteria, viruses and parasites, although traveler's diarrhea is usually referred to the development of extreme symptoms following a bacteria infection. We recommend of course that people be careful what they eat but traveler's diarrhea also even happens to those who are careful since they may be infected through another's careless preparation of food. Pepto-Bismol and Imodium may be taken for mild symptoms. We prescribe antibiotics to take at the early stages of traveler's diarrhea. We aim to prevent the loss of fluids and body salts, which will make one very sick in a tropical environment. Dukoral a vaccine has been licenced in Canda against “travelers diarrhea” however it is only effective against 1 in 5 cases of travelers diarrhea and lasts 3 months. In contrast taking pepto bismo decreases travelers diarrhea by 50%. Travelers having diarrhea starting after their trip may have an intestinal parasite. If you suspect that you may have a parasite check with our clinic.

Department of Foreign Affairs (Cuba Resources) http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/latinamerica/cuba-en.asp