CDC: Check vaccines before attending Winter Olympics

Jan. 31, 2014 at 12:29 AM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Before attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, U.S. health officials recommend travelers ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said travelers should make sure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines including: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, the polio vaccine and a seasonal flu shot.

In addition, the CDC recommends getting the hepatitis A vaccine because people can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Russia, regardless of where they are eating or staying.

"Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going in Russia, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the United States," the CDC said.

Travelers should ask their doctor about getting a:

-- Hepatitis B vaccine. People can get hepatitis B via sexual contact, contaminated needles and blood products. The CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

-- Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. Depending on what time of year traveling, some may need this vaccine if visiting certain remote areas of Russia for more than a month, or if they plan to spend a lot of time outdoors in those areas during a shorter trip. A doctor can help patients decide if this vaccine is appropriate.

-- A rabies vaccine. Although rabies can be found in dogs, bats and other mammals in Russia, it is not a major risk to most travelers. The CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups: travelers involved in activities that put them at risk for animal bites such as adventure travel and caving; people working with or around animals such as veterinarians; and people taking long trips or traveling to remote areas in Russia.

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