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Travel worries
Dec 24, 1999

Me and my HIV+ flatmate are planning a cruise to Egypt in Feburary and are concerned about food safety - precautions we should take etc. He is not on any meds yet but his CD4 count is below 300 and viral load 100,000. Although we have been assured that the vessels have water purification systems, we want to know what else we should be aware of. In addition, what vaccinations can he and can he not have - he has been told that he can't have live vaccines. He has never had the TB vaccine and can't now as it is live. Are we being overly cautious and should we just get on with enjoying the break without worrying?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

The Centers for Disease Control have an excellent website about precautions that should be taken by travelers to different parts of the world. If the ship's water is filtered and purified, that is OK. Many infectious diseases can be carried on fruit and vegetables, but if they are rinsed and prepared with clean water they should be ok too. If you're worried about that anyway, then avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables except if the fruits can be peeled (like bananas or oranges). Don't swim in the Nile!! Schistosomiasis is common in the Near East and is a nasty parasitic infection. You should indeed avoid live virus vaccines, but few of these pertain to travel risks-- see what the CDC recommends. And enjoy yourself!


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