International babies and parents - vaccines?
January 4, 2019 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: what are safe precautions to take when a North American baby and future pregnant woman will be interacting with babies and adults visiting from other countries who may have different vaccines or Zika exposure?

The Canadian baby is a healthy 7 month old who is on-schedule for the standard Ontario vaccines (which means currently baby has received 1-2 doses of vaccine for Rotovirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis, Inactivated Polio Virus, Haemophilus Influenzae type B vaccine, and Pneumococcal conjugate (10-valent) vaccine). Baby will also get a voluntary flu shot (although this will be max 2 weeks before baby meets travelling babies, maybe not enough time?)

The baby's mom is also trying to get pregnant again this year.

The family runs an AirBnB in their basement, and thinks it would be fun to rent to guests with babies from countries including Nigeria and Brazil.

This would mean lending their own baby's gear to the visiting family, including non-sterilizable drool-absorbent items like fabric playpens, toys, carseat, etc. And ideally the babies would play during the visit, and share toys. These items would then be used again by the current baby and the family's hypothetical late-2019 newborn.

Assume there is no way to verify whether the incoming babies have any/all vaccines- different countries likely have different vaccine priorities, the parents may not know, there may be a language barrier, the parents could lie to make sure they get the AirBnB booking, and/or the family is likely not travelling with vaccine documentation.

Is this safe? What are best practices?
Thanks!
posted by pseudostrabismus to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can only talk about the Zika and other tropical diseases aspect of it.

Zika is transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti or sexual contact. Even in the unlikely event that the visiting family is carrying the Zika virus there's no way it can be transmitted in a non-tropical or subtropical region with no Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Same thing with malaria, yellow fever, etc.

As for other diseases, the guidelines are exactly the same with babies visiting from Seattle or New York. If they think parents could lie to get the booking, then it seems to be a question of trust, and if they trust Canadians and Americans more than Brazilians or Nigerians, this is hardly an issue of disease transmission, and they can proceed according to their own beliefs. Probably better not to host if they are going to make these families feel miserable?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 1:14 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


I'm a doctor

ZIKA

Has no vaccine

Person-to-person transmission happens three ways: mother to child in utero, blood "products" (transfusion, IV drug users sharing needles), penetrative anal or vaginal sex w/o a condom. As far as I know, no documented cases to date of p-to-p transmission via any other route--non-sexual physical contact, saliva, proximity, etc

Upshot: short of an infected foreign baby bleeding directly into an open wound or sore on Canadian baby, I don't think you need to worry too much about Zika
posted by BadgerDoctor at 1:22 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Even in the unlikely event that the visiting family is carrying the Zika virus there's no way it can be transmitted in a non-tropical or subtropical region with no Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Zika is also transmitted sexually. What that means for the possiblities involving other body-fluids, I don't know. I assume any body-fluid-based transmission would mostly be an issue for the baby not the potentially-pregnant woman, though.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:22 PM on January 4


Person-to-person transmission happens three ways: mother to child in utero, blood "products" (transfusion, IV drug users sharing needles), penetrative anal or vaginal sex w/o a condom.

This. The ways Zika is spread from person to person are the same ways to HIV is spread person to person. I don’t think you need to worry about this.
posted by kat518 at 5:59 PM on January 4


Ok, cool for Zika, thanks.

Are there any other illnesses enemdic to other countries that might need precautions with two slobbery babies sharing toys?

The family is not only concerned about those two countries- those were just their first AirBnb inquiries.

Are there any other countries where vaccines or endemic illness may be worth considering? Like what about tuberculosis, etc.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:32 PM on January 4


I don't know about rates of diseases in different countries, but if I were you I would be thinking about measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox in the months before your baby gets those vaccines.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:07 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Playpens can be scrubbed with soapy water and dried in the sun. Pretty much all kid equipment can be washed. Toys can go in the washer or dishwasher. For any visitors, read the US and Canada State Dept travel advisories to learn about any disease concerns. The more people from other places any baby meets, the more exposure to varied illnesses. Travelers come in contact with a lot of germs, it's a reality. Wash hands, wash anything the baby touches. The US and certainly Canadian immigration screen visitors from places with serious infections, but there is a small amount of risk. A healthy Canadian toddler should be just fine; I'd be more cautious with an infant, though a breastfed infant will have some protection from the Mom.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 AM on January 5


I'd be mainly worried about measles. There have been several cases recently about measles outbreaks in the US caused by overseas visitors, eg here. I'm not sure about transmission by shared equipment but definitely be concerned about the the babies playing together. Sure you could find a list of which countries have a comprehensive MMR vaccination program, but unless they're demanding to see the vaccination records of every traveller (not just the babies), that seems unreliable. That goes for domestic travellers too, given the increase of anti-vaxx folk around.
posted by hibbersk at 11:10 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


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