Im travelling to india to volunteer in wildlife conservation do it need the Japanese encephalitis vaccination ?

Im travelling to india to volunteer in wildlife conservation and need to know weather the Japanese encephalitis vaccination is realy needed, the information i have read so far is conflicting a say to least and its not my GPs area of knowledge and its a £40 consultation fee for 20 mins with a nurse at a private vaccination centre…Any help from a seasoned traveller to India would be much appreciated.

Thank you all !

maxine 22/01/13    Travel health and safetyIndia Link Report

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Hi, I traveled to India last year for 3 months. Before i went i had the same questions and i was almost afraid to go. Im glad i went and i didn’t do ANY vaccination! The only things you must take big care is the drinking water ( always drink sealed bottled water_ dont feel up your bottle from any source ) and dont eat from the small stands at the side of the road, because everything is cooked in the same oil for days…. Also wash your teeth and fruit & vegetable with bottled water.
For 3 months i was eating in the traditional restaurants – especially Thali at Lunch time and biryani or Dosa for dinner with lots of Indian spices and Chilli and i went back home Healthier than ever!!!!

Andreas Constantinou 23/01/13    Link Report

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  • Thanks so much for that Andreas, you don’t know how great it is to be able to speak to someone who has been to India already and not just on a package or tailor-made holiday that why i think this new rough guide site is going to be so invaluable to people like our selves, if you have any other advice to give me about things that you think it may need to know like how much things cost there is never any info about this and also Indian culture and things my should do and shouldn’t do there is so many things written about how you should eat and with what hand and also was there anything you didn’t take with you that you wish you had and lastly are the toilets really as bad as they are.

    Thanks alot Andreas

    maxine 23/01/13    Link Report

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  • First time I am back here since RG pulled the plug on the site years ago. I would qualify my comments by noting that I am not a real doctor as my boy would put it. However, I spent several years there and made quite a number of trips until my mother in law died. I know there are people who religiously avoid precautions. That is fine by me and the odds are fair that they will make it without notable problems. However, I would note one such case where both grantees of the foundation I was then with did this and acquired Hepatitis A. Self treatment was the crowning foolishness when one drowned in his own stomach juices. You can’t cover all the risks. There are something like 40 life threatening nasties out there. However, some of the more common do have fairly cost effective precautions.

    JE is a judgement call. Its usually found more in rural areas and also is somewhat regional. Areas of Uttar Pradesh near the Nepalese border have often been affected as well as rural Andhra Pradesh. Lucknow once had a nasty outbreak. It is often associated with pig raising areas. I suppose there is a vector relationship involved. The injections (plural) are expensive and are moderately effective at about 60%. However, It may also lessen the incidence of the disease. In general, I don’t feel it is necessary for tourists. I recommend for such a much more modest regime. The other side is that playing the odds has a potential outcome of a truly nasty disease in which survival is sometimes worse then death. Treatment is best done in the city and my sister in law has treated such cases brought to her.

    To the OP’s case, only you know the area you will be working and the time of year you will be there. I seriously doubt the vast majority of GPs or even worse, nurses would be experts on tropical medicine and that too an exotic nasty. A specialist in tropical medicine might be hard put on this specific topic. Ultimately only you can make the judgement. Just be careful of too simplistic of an answer. It almost never is on Indian health issues. On the positive side I had almost no medical problems over a long period that couldn’t be coped with other than a modest case of malaria. .

    edwardseco 24/01/13    Link Report

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  • As edwardseco says: Where are you going and for how long? And is GBP 40 really an unbearable expense when you consider the implications of contracting the disease? What will you do if you get sick, and possibly too sick to travel home?

    Your exposure increases the longer you are away and the cheaper you travel there.

    I assume you have all the other recommended vaccinations: Hepatitis A and B; diptheria; polio; typhoid: tetanus.

    emmeff 27/01/13    Link Report

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  • Emmeff what you say is right of course and no money can replace ones health, yes i have had every vaccination going apart from yellow fever and the Japanese encephalitis vaccination so you could say i am no questioning the importance of all vaccinations just as to the importance of the Japanese encephalitis vaccination in my case the time of year i am going being April and not July – December the time when this disease is at its most prevalent and areas i am visiting not being areas where out breaks of this disease having any recorded, you also need not worry about the standard of my travel insurance i have also been responsible enough to cover myself for repatriation of dead body. i take it that you have had experience of travel where this disease has been found in india or asia it would be great to hear any of your travels in these countries.

    maxine 27/01/13    Link Report

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  • I’ve never had the JE vaccine myself, but I encourage you to think carefully about it. If you plan travel to other Asia countries you’ll have protection for a few years.

    My experience of India is limited to Amritsar, which is in the high-risk area for JE, but others are better qualified to speak of that country. In the region I have spent a lot of time in Pakistan, which has only a small area that is susceptible to JE, and I have travelled in Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries where it’s not an issue.

    On another topic, where are you going to volunteer? Have you researched the hosting organisation?

    emmeff 30/01/13    Link Report

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  • Hi Maxine, sorry to be a little late to the table but I thought I’d offer my advice. Just to declare first of all I am a qualified and registered staff nurse, my area of expertise is emergency care but I do have a knowledge of travel medicine too, so I hope my advice is useful to you.

    First of all Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease causing a severe flu like illness spread by mosquitoes throughout SE Asia, particularly in rural areas and wetlands (ie paddy fields). The chances of contracting it are low, (this rises if you spend a significant length of time in ‘risk’ areas), but IF you do get it then the consequences can sometimes be fatal.

    As the latest CDC recommendations state, JE is a recommended vaccine for the area, particularly if you are heading out into rural areas. (There are 3 types of vaccine, routine which most people should have already such as MMR, tetanus etc, recommended which varies according to region, and then required, which only applies to the yellow fever vaccine if entering certain countries and the meningococcal vaccine if entering Saudi during Hajj or Umrah). It is only recommended, and the risks are low. BUT you are increasing your risks by spending extended periods in rural areas volunteering, and the consequences are severe, so you have to decide for yourself if it is worth it.

    In my professional opinion, it is always worth protecting yourself.

    If you get it, you will need two doses of this vaccine spaced 28 to 30 days apart, so you should get your first dose at least a month before travelling. The immunity period is approximately 1 year.

    Michael Huxley 28/03/13    Link Report

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  • Hey, Can u let me know the details of your conservation program in India. I am searching for a wildlife conservation program myself

    Keet 18/05/13    Link Report

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  • Sorry Keet when i got to India our group, myself being the only english person, we found out that the address given was a fake one and the whole thing was a scam, it was a good job that i had not given them any money as i had arranged to stay with a friend living not far to far from this address and we had all arranged to do the conservation work together, all having had previous experience in one way or another, so for me in was not a disaster. We had also planed other places to go as well, so we just moved on to one of those instead, and i was a good job as we ended up being in the right place at the right time for the best Leopard sighting of my life, so these things go in swings and turns.

    Sorry about that Keet hope you find a conservation program myself and be should that its not fake i can laugh about it now but if i didn’t already know people over there and had already had somewhere to stay and was doing it with other Indian people being the only english person which was why they asked me to pay on turning up as they do for most of the Indian people going on these programs as they don’t have bank accounts i suppose, but if it had not happened that way it would have been a disaster, let me know if you find one.

    Best Wishes Maxine :-)

    maxine 20/05/13    Link Report

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