Advice from The Travel Clinic Ltd Cambridge and Ipswich
Tuberculosis (TB) is the highest contracted communicable disease in parts of Malaysia and causes the most deaths from all communicable diseases.
The Health Minister has reportedly announced that 10 007 cases of tuberculosis (TB) occurred within the first five months of this year (2014). Of this number, 8 568 cases involved Malaysians while the rest were foreigners. In 2013, a total of 24 071 cases were reported with 20 687 affecting Malaysians and 3 384 foreigners.
The reasons for this increase are likely to be complex, but range from increasing immigrant populations from high risk countries, being unaware of early symptoms delaying diagnosis and some reported reluctance to comply with treatment regimes.
We no longer give BCG vaccine (protecting against TB) routinely in this country. The vaccine was given routinely ages 13-14 in schools, but this practice was stopped about 6 -8 years ago meaning that young people under 24 may not be protected from Tuberculosis. It may be appropriate to consider BCG vaccine prior to travel to Malaysia or other high risk countries, particularly if likely to be mixing with the local population during long term travel, or in health care or volunteer settings. Ideally, BCG vaccine should be given at least 12 weeks prior to travel to ensure the site has healed and antibody level has become effective.
For further info, please contact The Travel Clinic Ltd, Cambridge or Ipswich on 08455 480543 or www.travelclinic.ltd.uk