Health and vaccination for Cambodia


Introduction

No vaccinations are mandatory to go to Cambodia for travelers comming from Europe or USA. But some are recommended especially if you plan to have a long stay in the country and to go to the country side.
Anyway, before leaving, ask your doctor. Ideally at least two months before departure to allow time to make any vaccines and boosters.
Besides Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, health facilities in Cambodia are often rudimentary. In case of health problem in Cambodia, go to the Calmette Hospital or Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh if possible and do not hesitate to go to Bangkok which has the best hospitals in the region.

Vaccination

Here is the list of recommended vaccinations for a stay in Cambodia:
Hepathite B and hepathite C, this vaccinations are recommended if you are not already immune
Repevax, Boostrixtetra, Revaxis (tetanus, rabies, polio, diphtheria ...) to do if you stay in rural areas for over than a month and you are not up to date on your vaccinations
Japanese encephalitis, the vaccination is recommended for any stay longer than a month in rural areas.
Pentavac, Tetravac, you can add to the list of vaccinations for children

Diseases

Dengue usually transmitted by mosquitoes (mostly during the day), it has approximately the same symptoms than influenza (fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, rash), but more violent including a very high fever. There is no vaccine and no treatment (although Sanofi have made much progress in developing a vaccine but is not on the market yet). In very rare cases it can progress to haemorrhagic fever, drugs like aspirin are not recommended. Dengue will block you in bed for 2-7 days. The risk of infection is highest from May to November during the raining seasond.
Malaria, if the disease transmitted by mosquito bites is absent from the cities, it is very common in rural areas, especially in Angkor. And given thaht any visit to Cambodia must include Angkor temples, it is highly recommended to ask your doctor for antimalarial treatment prescription. In general, mosquitoes are a potential source of infection and disease so protect yourself against them, bring or buy an anti-mosquito spray as soon as ou arrive.
Aids is very present in Cambodia and sexually transmitted diseases like hepatitis B too. Especially in rural areas. To avoid contamination, use condoms and do not make tattoos or piercings in Thailand.

Precautions

Watch stray dogs, they often carry rabies.
Protect yourself against mosquitoes, they present a risk of contamination with diseases more or less annoying (dengue and malaria in particular). Dress with length clothes (sleeves and pants, ankle protection) at the evening and use repellents.
Don't drink tap water. It is imperative to never drink the tap water in Cambodia. Always buy bottled water and check the bottles are properly sealed. Better also avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables without peeling them (avoid fruits and vegetables already peeled, nothing says they have not had washed with tap water after being peeled). It is advisable to drink at least 2 liters of water (bottled) per day.
Choose your restaurantsFood can also be a vector for other diseases than hepatitis A. A dirty or with no client restaurant is never a good sign. For meat and fish, make sure they are thoroughly cooked. If this is not the case, do not eat them and ask the restaurant to cook them more. No need to be paranoid either, there are small local restaurants where you can eat well without any risk for your health.
Avoid batthing in lakes or ponds.. This can expose you to many diseases such as bilharzia, leptospirosis or other diarrheal diseases.
Bring the drugs you need with you. Take the drugs you need from home and do not buy drugs in Cambodian pharmacies, many offer counterfeit drugs. But if you need to buy drugs in Cambodia, go only in type A pharmacies. They have real qualified pharmacists and sell real drugs when type B are just shops with vendors without any pharmacist training and often offer counterfeit drugs that may be more or less dangerous for your health.

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