Resource Information on Immunizations
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia
The information of this document has been revised by our Lay Missioners in Cambodia, who helped me getting all the necessary information about the immunizations choices as you prepare to travel to Cambodia. It is also updated with the current information on the CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/cambodia.
Here we emphasize that each participant needs to make this choice under the advisement of his or her own physician. We simply provide this sheet as a resource to you and your doctor as you make your decision.
Where We’ll Be in Cambodia.
In order to make the best decision about immunizations, you’ll need to know where in Cambodia we plan to go. We’ll be spending most of our time in Phnom Penh and two full days in Siem Reap.
You are going to have a wonderful experience! Please do not let rumors of extremely rare diseases haunt you. Healthy American travelers like you may pick-up what is called “travelers diarrhea”, uncomfortable yes, but it is not dangerous. There is no special immunization against this hazard. Bring along Imodium and Pepto Bismol, drink bottled water (will be provided), rest, and let your own immune system do the rest. Very important don’t ask for ice in your beverages. Prevention is your best weapon. Just follow the guidelines regarding what you put into your mouth, wash hands frequently with soap (bring a liquid antibacterial soap).
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has some immunization recommendations for your specific Cambodia experience:
Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications (as appropriate for ages)
Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need. See your doctor at least 4 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect. All the following recommendations are to help keep you healthy.
- Routine. RECOMMENDED if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
- Flu shot. RECOMMENDED to prevent getting flu on the airplane due to the international transmission and near-global occurrence.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). RECOMMENDED. Recommended because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Cambodia, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
- Typhoid vaccine. RECOMMENDED. Recommended because you can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Cambodia. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
- Dengue fever, Malaria and Zika. Only dengue is more prevalent and there is no vaccine, only prevention. Bring a good insect repellent containing DEET and use it constantly.
- Japanese Encephalitis we want to mention this but it will not apply in your case because it is needed only if trip will last more than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.
- Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Cambodia, but it is recommended for many outdoor activities, which we will not have and we don’t have any history of anyone missioner or FAB participant been bitten in Cambodia. You can consult further with your doctor and CDC.
Each person needs to become informed and make a choice about which immunizations to take. How does one make these choices? Participants approach the issue from a range of philosophies. Some will want to take every possible immunization. Others will prefer the minimum. It’s up to you. I hope this info helps you.
What You Need To Bring With You
- Insect repellent containing DEET.
- Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays.
- Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s) or letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you.
- Always carry medications in their original containers, in your carry-on luggage.
- Be sure to bring along over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication (e.g., bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide) to self-treat moderate diarrhea.
- Bring hand sanitizer in case we are in a place without soap or water.
January 10, 2017