Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Travelling with Kids: Bitten by the Bangkok bug

Should our son be given a Japanese Encephalitis (JE) jab before flying out to Bangkok for our annual holiday?

This summer brings our annual holiday in Bangkok. With it comes the stress of having to decide how many clothes to pack per person, explain to my husband that we cannot take along 15kg of camera gear, and stop Calvin, our 10-year-old, from sneaking his menagerie of toy animals into the suitcases.

This year, I have one more thing to worry about: should our son be given a Japanese Encephalitis (JE) jab before flying out to Bangkok? The dilemma arose when we recently made a routine visit to his paediatrician and casually mentioned our summer plans.

Calvin, who was born in Bangkok and therefore immediately qualified for Thailand's vaccination programme for children, was administered the requisite three JE doses by the time his third birthday came round.

I didn't question it then. Thailand has had a few outbreaks in the (distant) past and, even though the mosquito-borne disease doesn't usually occur in urban areas, it seemed like a sensible thing to do, especially to a new, sleep-deprived mother who jumped every time her baby sneezed.

When Calvin turned six, we moved to Oman, started our annual tradition of visiting Thailand every year, and promptly forgot all about JE - it does not occur in the Middle East and, according to the paediatrician at the excellent Thai Nakarin Hospital in Bangkok, where Calvin was born, antibodies to the virus persist for several years after primary immunisation.

Calvin has fond memories of the hospital, mostly because we ended every visit with a trip to the surprisingly good food court in the basement for delicious noodle soup with fish dumplings. It helped dry up post-jab tears in no time.

Now in Abu Dhabi, faced with the JE question again, I was hesitant to sign the form, although Calvin's doctor seemed keen.

"He might not have the immunity any more," she pointed out. "Better safe than sorry, don't you think? We don't stock the vaccine, but I can order it a couple of weeks before you travel. "

"But it's Bangkok!" I protested, proud of myself keeping my parental anxiety under control. "We're not going to be in a rural, mosquito-ridden area."

"His legs did have their fair share of mosquito bites when we used to live there," said my husband, who, I like to believe, was trying to be helpful.

But, with still a few months to go before we fly out, there's no rush to decide. Calvin, though, says he wants the jab - in Bangkok. It hasn't occurred to him that it would be too late by then. All he's thinking about is the wonderful noodle soup he'll get to tuck into afterwards.

ciyer@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Shah Rukh Khan performs at the IPL Gala dinner to open IPL VII at the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi.

In pictures: Shah Rukh Khan stars at IPL Gala dinner in Abu Dhabi

The superstar entertainer Shah Rukh Khan on stage last night at a gala dinner to launch the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

No words can describe this April 17, your captions will

Have a catchy caption for this picture. Share it with us and we might publish it and reward you.

 When this 1856 British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York on June 17, it is expected to attract a world record bid for a single stamp of up to $20 million (Dh73.4m). Courtesy Sotheby’s

Rare 1856 stamp up for auction at Sotheby’s

This is one of the world’s rarest stamps and when it goes up for auction in June it should fetch $20million. Its history since it was issued in 1856 is fascinating – and includes one murderous chapter, as Jonathan Gornall reports

 This Dh17,000 Miele system can prepare your choice of coffee - from capuccino to espresso - at a touch of a button. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Miele puts art in coffee making

Miele has devoted itself to the art of preparing the black liquid with its beautifully designed coffee machines, living up to its mantra of turning kitchens into cafés.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National