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Toilet posters give public health advice

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Bus riders in San Francisco are seeing posters of third-world toilets as reminders to keep vaccinations up-to-date if traveling overseas, health officials said.

The public health posters, carrying the slogan "Don't spend your vacation hugging this," are the work of the California Department of Health's communicable disease division, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

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Pamela Axelson, a nurse who helped found the department's Adult Immunization & Travel Clinic said the public service campaign is mostly directed at people from Central America, the Philippines or Southeast Asia who are now living in San Francisco and are heading back to visit their families.

Axelson said those travelers often incorrectly assume they have a natural immunity to diseases such as Hepatitis A, malaria, typhoid and yellow fever, the Chronicle said.

"They've been here for 20 years or 30 years, and they've lost any immunity they might have had," Axelson said. "They're much more susceptible than they think they are" because of bacteria found in the food and water of their homelands -- hence the toilet ads, the newspaper said.

Axelson said she recommends a visit to a clinic prior to traveling to a developing country to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, the Chronicle reported.

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