Immune disorder (immunosuppression)

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

In case of an immune disorder, the immune system does not function properly. As a result, the susceptibility to infections is higher. Therefore, additional vaccines may be recommended, but it is possible that some vaccinations may not work as expected. In addition, live vaccines, such as the yellow fever vaccine, may not be administered. 

Immune disorders may be congenital or may occur later in life, for example due to an HIV infection, a mild disease or due to the ingestion of immune-reducing drugs.  These drugs, such as cortisone, Ledertrexate® and Humira®, are often used in Crohn's disease, rheumatism, cancer, certain skin conditions or after an organ transplant.

Depending on the type of immune disorder, additional preventive measures may be necessary before travelling. In some cases it is not recommended to travel to areas with a high risk of infection or areas without proper medical facilities.

Risk areas

The risk of infection is generally higher in (sub)tropical countries and areas with a lower hygiene standard.

Prevention

Travel consultation

Discuss your travel plans well in advance of departure (eight weeks or longer) with your attending physician and a doctor at a specialised travel clinic.

Possible additional measures

  • Additional vaccinations.
  • Blood test after vaccination to determine whether sufficient antibodies have been formed.
  • Medication to prevent infections, such as malaria, also in regions with moderate malaria risk.
  • Medication to treat infections, such as traveller's diarrhoea, quickly.

Medical report and medication list

Take a short medical report (English or French) and a medication list with the generic product names with you when you travel.

Infections

Carefully apply the general measures to prevent infections.

Travelling with medicines

Make sure your travel pharmacy is in order and you have the necessary documents.

Travel assistance insurance

Make sure you have good travel insurance. Make sure that any problems due to your sickness are not excluded and ask whether emergency evacuation is included.

Additional information for medical doctors

Vaccination for immunosuppression (Superior Health Council)

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