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Would you take unvaxed little ones to India?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Okay I wrote a huge long post but thought it was best to keep it simple smile.gif So....


Has anyone taken unvaxed children to India? Or for that matter has anyone taken little children under 5 there vaxed or not? Would you? Are there any vaccines you would consider essential for India only? If you wouldn't take them there, why not?


Am especially interested to hear what vaccines complete non-vaxers would consider getting if they were going to India. We are looking at a 3-4 week trip minimum, would be staying in the same hotel the whole time in Mumbai. Would mostly be hibernating in the hotel whenever we can as I am scared to take the little ones out by myself there. Experiences of what its like there would be welcome as well. I am trying to decide between leaving them (which would be very traumatic for my daughter- and me :lol:) or taking them with me (which is scary and worrisome for me). 

post #2 of 14

India is an amazingly beautiful country that has some very poor people.  I have only gone with vaccinated kids.  Rabies is one I would consider getting before going that you normally wouldn't get.  But I am not a non-vacc-er.


I'm sorry that you are so scared of India!  I went there pregnant, if that is any consolation, and DD turned out just fine.  Indian culture is sooo welcoming of children it would be a pity for your kids to miss that, but I don't know what I'd do if I didn't vacc.





post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I wouldnt be scared if I was without my kids, I just worry about how to protect them and myself at the same time. And for everything wonderful I read about Mumbai there is something else horrible that scares me. Im a bit of an over-protective mom though, Im scared to walk even in our safe neighborhood at night with the kids so we rarely go out after dark. redface.gif I would be fine on my own, but now I just worry about them, or even what would happen to them if something happens to me, kwim orngtongue.gif Its not so much India I am scared of, as the unknown and the dangers which I am not used to. I love the Indian culture and the way they treat children and see them as a blessing and joy- so different to here! I will look into Rabies, thanks. 

post #4 of 14

I've been to India and I LOVED it.  Really, why would you go unless you can relly get out there and enjoy this wonderful city/country!  And, almost everyone speaks English, so it makes doing anything SO easy!  However, I have to add that I was very careful about the food, I only drank bottled water and I only ate at respectable restaurants and I still got diarrhea.  :(  And, I was only there for a week. 


First off, I would say post in the tribe area for India.  They'll have so much more information.  Also, some internet research shows this website, which I hesitated to show you because I found it a little scary, but here it is anyways: 




Overall, at first blush I would consider the Diptheria vax.  I hate the vax, but it's a serious disease and it occurs in India.  Also, you may want to consider Typhoid.  Plus, there may be some vaxs that might be required to gain entry to the country. 


Good luck!

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks I didnt think that there might be mandatory ones to enter, will look into that. I am extremely hesitant to consider the Diptheria vaccine. In my country it is only available in a 6 disease combo. And I had a friend who looked into getting them separately and I recall it being around $5000 PER vaccine. Will investigate the Typhoid vaccine, didn't even know there was one :)


I have been watching Mumbai movies on YouTube all night and am starting to feel more comfortable. Only thing that is scaring me is crossing the roads- holy cow! That is some wild stuff smile.gif. Some of the tourists actually pay the little taxi cars just to drive them across the road. I think I may be joining that camp redface.gif The drivers are amazing though the way they dodge the pedestrians! 

post #6 of 14


Edited by member234098 - 6/12/12 at 12:44pm
post #7 of 14

I would only go with vaccinated children.  India is a gorgeous place, but polio is still wild there, along with other things I'd rather my children not contract.

post #8 of 14

I wouldn't have a problem with it. I would make sure we were all taking our vitamins including a lot of D3. Make sure we were doing everything to boost our immune systems, plenty of garlic and vitamin C.


I would research symptoms and treatments of diseases that are common in the country so that I was prepared.

For instance Typhoid Fever- 

You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding Salmonella Typhi or if sewage contaminated with Salmonella Typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Therefore, typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where handwashing is less frequent and water is likely to be contaminated with sewage. Hand sanitizer, water filters and being aware of the food you are eating would allow you to be proactive in avoiding it.


"Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it"

  • If you drink water, buy it bottled or bring it to a rolling boil for 1 minute before you drink it. Bottled carbonated water is safer than uncarbonated water.
  • Ask for drinks without ice unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water. Avoid popsicles and flavored ices that may have been made with contaminated water.
  • Eat foods that have been thoroughly cooked and that are still hot and steaming.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and fruits that cannot be peeled. Vegetables like lettuce are easily contaminated and are very hard to wash well.
  • When you eat raw fruit or vegetables that can be peeled, peel them yourself. (Wash your hands with soap first.) Do not eat the peelings.
  • Avoid foods and beverages from street vendors. It is difficult for food to be kept clean on the street, and many travelers get sick from food bought from street vendors.

Polio, tetanus, typhoid ect.. can all be treated, if you know how they are spread you can be proactive in avoiding them. Knowing the symptoms and the treatments will allow you to be prepared in case of an emergency. You could also see if your doctor would provide antibiotics in case of an emergency.


post #9 of 14
I would only take vaccinated kids to India.
post #10 of 14

I would not take unvaxed child to India. The risk of getting a serious disease like polio is very possible.

post #11 of 14

Although Polio is a serious disease its important to keep things in perspective -


According to WHO in 2010 there were 908 cases of polio in the world. Of those 908 cases 41 were in India. It is spread through food and water contamination or direct contact with infected stool. By using a water filter that can kill the virus, watching what you eat and basic sanitation your family should be safe. Obviously there is a chance that you or your child could be one of those 41 cases but seeing as the population of India is 1,155,347,678 it is very unlikely. 




post #12 of 14

JulianneW  this is a quote from the site you linked.

"Most people infected with the poliovirus have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. These symptomless people carry the virus in their intestines and can “silently” spread the infection to thousands of others before the first case of polio paralysis emerges.
For this reason, WHO considers a single confirmed case of polio paralysis to be evidence of an epidemic – particularly in countries where very few cases occur."

So 41 cases of confirmed polio paralysis from indefenate number of people who got sick and spread it to others. In 2009 there were 694, 2008-82, in 2007 -984. If one in 200 polio carriers gets paralysis and is used for statistics it means that in 2010 there were 8200 people  who got sick and were able to spread the virus and in 2007 there were 196 800 who were sick and passing virus, which makes a chance of contracting Polio much more significant.

Other thing as a tourist to third world country that you need to keep in mind is not only yourself following basic sanitation but also making sure that everyone one you came in contact with done the same. Which is very difficult in the country where general population lacks understanding of basic hygien and sanitation.

My dad is a Health Inspector in NYC and according to him there was an outbreak of Hep A (which is spread like polio) that was traced back to bartender in high end pub, who had Hep A and did not wash his hands. How did he transfer it to others? By handling their drinking glasses and hand-squeezing lemons into their drinks. It was a high end pub in NYC. The biggest issue my dad finds during his inspections in restaurants  and street vendors run by people who came from third world countries (not that american born people are much better) is lack of understanding of basic sanitation. I am not going to go into detail of what he finds there, my point is that even in NYC you have people who disregard or don't understand basic sanitation, you can not expect others who live in coltures where whose things are not common, that it would be better. Unless you personally handle all food items, cooking and serving utensils, you can not be sure that basic sanitation was followed and you are not exposed to the disease. Besides Polio there is a lot of nasty bugs that you could get in the same way. 

Also in case you get sick with something, you might want to know how you will be treated. For example if you were in Russia and got diagnosed with Hep A, it is a standard procedure to be put into infectious disease hospital for a month, even though there is not treatment. I don't know how it is in India, but I would rather avoid getting sick on the trip and having to deal with local "treatment" methods.

It is OP personal choice if she wants to take the risk  or even consider it as a risk but I personally do not think that it is wise to take unvaxed children to the country where they have significant chances of getting sick.

If there is no absolute need for you to go to India, don't go there or at least don't bring the kids.

We had not vaccinated our DD because we wanted to protect her health and living in US her chances of getting a life threatening form of vax disease were less or equal to her having a serious reaction to vaccine. We were willing to take a chance. Now we moved to Germany and will be going to Russia in the summer. Our situation has changed and her chances of getting things like Diphtheria and risks related to it are greater than risk of vaccine reaction. I still want to protect her health and it is why she will get DTP vax.

post #13 of 14
I would never take un vaxxed kids to India, that would be asking for trouble. The diseases we vax for in N. America are rampant there- you can avoid the most dangerous diseases even being un vaxxed because of herd immunity, and because most are not common (because of vaccines and higher standards of sanitation and such). This is not the case in India. I live in Tijuana and got my son a TB vaxx that he wouldn't get, and they don't even have, in the US. of course, you don't have to be in a 3rd world country to die of vaxx preventable diseases- pertussis in CA has killed 25+ this year- but it's MUCH more likely there than here.

I would do Polio, diphtheria and Tb for sure, There may be more but Ive heard of these being very active and contagious. The chances of a bad vaxx reaction are TINY compared to catching these diseases in a place where they are common. I would also ask a good pedi that is familiar with India to recommend some, and get them. If you don't have the money ask the health department.

Don't go all the way to India and have to be scared, huddled in the hotel! Mumbai is interesting and the country is amazing, if poor. You will want to explore, so do it safely! And enjoy your trip!!!! Everyone I know that's been has loved it!
post #14 of 14

Fwiw, there are no "required" vaxes for India.  If you are coming directly from the U.S (or any other country where yellow fever is non-endemic)., there are no "required" vaxes for any country you might want to visit.  Suggested, yes.  Required, no. 


You are proposing a very short term trip, in a city where Western-standard food, lodging and medical care are available.  If it's better for your littles to be with you during this time, go fo it.  Stay in a international hotel, brush up on best practices for super-paranoid int'l travel (no ice, no fruit that can't be peeled, use an water-filter pen or other personal water filter on bottled water, no street food, long-sleeve, light colored clothing after dusk, etc.), strengthen everyone's immune system with pro-biotics and extra vitamins before and during. 


If you don't want to be a sick mama while you're there, you might want Hep A and maybe Typhoid pills for yourself.  But really, for such a short visit with little travelling around, you should also probably be fine without.    What you and your kiddos are most likely to suffer from while there is just typical travel belly stuff.  Be clear on how to differentiate symptoms from a belly bug and diseases there are vaxes for and you will have fewer worries if one of your children vomits or spikes a fever.  Bringing doc-prescribed antibiotics and rehydration packets from the U.S. to deal with giardia and other common infections will make treating such belly bugs less traumatic than if you have to look for a doc while you're over there.  My experience with India is that everybody who goes gets some type of stomach upset.  Be ready for it.


I lived in the developing world many years.   Visiting Westerners who were the sickest always seemed to be those who'd loaded up on a smorgasboard of exotic travel vaxes and garden-variety boosters right before coming over.  If you were going to volunteer at an orphanage, live in a rural area with poor sanitation and be there long -term, etc., my advice might be different.   But for what you're proposing, your kiddos should be fine.


Good luck and happy travels!




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