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Vaccines in the Maldives

Even with a destination as naturally breathtaking as the Maldives, where everything is the picture of perfection, it’s important as a traveller to take all necessary precautions when you travel. The luxury of jet-setting always comes with a few health risks, which is why it’s a good idea to understand how to stay safe and healthy while on holiday and what the necessary vaccines for the Maldives may be. 
 
The good news about vaccines for the Maldives is that unless you are travelling from tropical Africa, there are no vaccines that are required here by law. Having said that, it’s recommended to be protected against some of the more common food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A, and typhoid, as well tetanus. For those who prefer to err on the side of caution, it’s a good idea to be up to date with the routine vaccinations which include a flu shot as a preventative measure. You should also consider being vaccinated for hepatitis B and, if you are planning on heading to rural areas, for tuberculosis. These vaccines for the Maldives have been recommended by the TMB and CDC.
 
According to WHO, there have been no reports of Malaria or rabies transmissions in the Maldives but it’s always wise to steer clear of animals and mosquitos, especially because in some parts of the Maldives dengue fever is present. It’s therefore, highly recommended to take some basic precautions (such as using a strong mosquito repellent). 
 
When it comes to vaccines for the Maldives, a yellow fever shot isn’t compulsory for every traveller. However, if you visit a yellow fever endemic country (or transit in one for over 12 hours) within a year of travelling to the Maldives, you may be requested to present your yellow fever card as proof of vaccination. This applies to travellers who have visited any Central African or South American country within a year of arriving in the Maldives. 
 
As mentioned, the vaccines for the Maldives are recommended as a precautionary measure. In order to further lower your risk of contracting any of the diseases, it’s crucial to understand how they are contracted. Here’s a basic rundown: 
 
Hepatitis A - Contracted through contaminated food, water or from person to person, especially where personal hygiene is poor. People with underlying medical conditions are particularly at risk 
Hepatitis B - Contracted through contaminated bodily fluids
Tetanus - Tetanus spores are spread through cuts, burns and wounds through contaminated objects (such as knives, nails etc.). These spores can be found worldwide in soil
Typhoid - Contracted through contaminated water or food
Dengue fever - Transmitted through mosquito bites. These mosquitoes tend to bite during the day and the disease is more common in urban areas
 
The Maldives is considered to have a moderate risk of Zika (ZIKV) virus transmissions, which is spread through mosquito bites. Much like the dengue fever mosquitos, these mosquitoes generally bite during the day and are found in urban areas. There is some risk of sexual transmission. While the illness is manageable, there is said to be a link between infection during pregnancy and serious birth defects. 
 
There is no vaccine available against ZIKV so it is strongly advised that pregnant women postpone travel that isn’t essential. Those who think they might be pregnant and those who are planning pregnancy should avoid ZIKV areas, or if nothing else, avoid the risk of sexual transmission by using contraception and condoms during travel and for eight weeks after travel if female and six months after travel if male. You can find more information on ZIKV on the page for Zika virus infection.
 
In short, here’s what you need to remember when you travel to the Maldives:
 
Get vaccines for the Maldives (even if it’s just the routine ones)
Be careful with what you eat and drink
Avoid germs (carry and use hand sanitizer, wet wipes etc.)
Prevent mosquito bites
Avoid non-sterile cosmetic or medical instruments
Avoid interaction with animals 
Make sure you know how to get medical care where you are staying 
Take out travel insurance
Postpone travel if pregnant (and take precautionary measures if trying for a baby)
Use trustworthy services and service providers (for day trips, transport, excursions, etc.)
Avoid sharing bodily fluids
 
It's vital that over and above these recommendations, you take into consideration your health history, your general health currently, what kind of activities you will partake in while in the Maldives and the length of your stay. To ensure that you take all of the preventative measures (including those around food and water, insect bites, accidents, etc.) as well as those specific to your personal health profile and concerns, it’s best to meet with your general practitioner one to two months before you travel. They will be able to tailor the best preventative measures, vaccines and recommended medicines especially for you. 
 
Travellers on chronic medication or any over the counter medication need to check whether or not there are any restrictions in the Maldives for those particular medicines. It’s also recommended to make sure that you are insured for all medical emergencies and repatriation with travel insurance from a trustworthy provider. For additional travel advice, you can visit UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website or take a look at the WHO Maldives country information page.
 
With a few precautionary measures in place, you can rest assured that your trip to paradise will be everything you could dream of and more. All that you will need to do when you get there is sit back, relax and make the most of this extraordinary destination. 
 
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