By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: How do I know what type of vaccinations I need? If I need any shots I wish to get them before my next trip to South America.

A: Health Canada issues an excellent web source entitled the Travel Medicine Program available through It details current information on international disease outbreaks, immunization recommendations for international travel, general health advice for international travellers and disease-specific treatment and prevention guidelines.

This web site is available 24/7 so should you remember a medical topic after midnight, it's there at your fingertips. Consular Affairs report that you may need to start receiving your vaccination shots or taking medication six to eight weeks prior to your departure.

Other points to remember are to ensure that your routine immunizations for diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella are up-to-date. Another handy web tool is

Not only does the site have a global map outlining the areas affected by certain tropical diseases, but also there is a Table on Diseases section detailing them. According to the site's team manager Dr. Juan Oton, who is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine, the information meets the standards recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia for travellers to tropical countries. Both organizations also have detailed information on health and travel, which are regularly updated.

For more details, log onto or


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