Read below for travel health advice on Denmark from the MDtravelhealth channel on Red Planet Travel.
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Summary of recommendations
In general, no special immunizations or medications are necessary for travel to Denmark. In view of a recent measles outbreak, all travelers should be sure they are fully immunized against measles, as below.
|Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)||Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given|
|Tetanus-diphtheria||Revaccination recommended every 10 years|
|Influenza||Recommended for all travelers from November through April|
All children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, prior to international travel. The following are the recommended vaccinations for Denmark:
Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine: two doses are recommended (if not previously given) for all travelers born after 1956, unless blood tests show immunity. Many adults born after 1956 and before 1970 received only one vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella as children and should be given a second dose before travel. MMR vaccine should not be given to pregnant or severely immunocompromised individuals.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for all travelers during flu season, which runs from November through April. Influenza vaccine may cause soreness at the injection site, low-grade fevers, malaise, and muscle aches. Severe reactions are rare. Influenza vaccine should not be given to pregnant women during the first trimester or those allergic to eggs.
In the summer of 2006, two children who had been swimming in the Baltic Sea developed wound infections caused by Vibrio species. Both children had compromised immune systems. See Eurosurveillance for details. Wound infections caused by Vibrio species may progress rapidly and be life-threatening, especially in those with limited immune defenses. Those with chronic illnesses or open wounds should avoid swimming in the Baltic Sea during the warm weather months.
An outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza ("bird flu") was reported in May 2006 from a backyard poultry holding in Funen County (see Eurosurveillance). No poultry cases have been reported since that time and no human cases have been identified. Outbreaks of other types of avian influenza have also been reported from Danish farms, but these are of low pathogenicity and pose little risk to humans. Most travelers are at extremely low risk for avian influenza, since almost all human cases in other countries have occurred in those who have had direct contact with live, infected poultry, or sustained, intimate contact with family members suffering from the disease. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control do not advise against travel to countries affected by avian influenza, but recommend that travelers to affected areas should avoid exposure to live poultry, including visits to poultry farms and open markets with live birds; should not touch any surfaces that might be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals; and should make sure all poultry and egg products are thoroughly cooked. A vaccine for avian influenza was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but produces adequate antibody levels in fewer than half of recipients and is not commercially available. The vaccines for human influenza do not protect against avian influenza. Anyone who develops fever and flu-like symptoms after travel to Denmark should seek immediate medical attention, which may include testing for avian influenza. For further information, go to the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the Centers for Disease Control, and ProMED-mail.
A measles outbreak was reported from the Scandinavian region of Øresund in January 2006, resulting in 18 cases as of late March (nine in Denmark and nine in Sweden). All the Danish patients resided on Zealand, mostly in the greater Copenhagen area. See Eurosurveillance for further information. A small measles outbreak was reported from North Jutland in January 2002 (see Eurosurveillance). All travelers to Denmark should make sure they are fully immunized against measles, as above.
A small number of cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease") have been identified, but transmission to humans has not been reported to date. At present, the risk of acquiring variant CJD from European beef appears to be extraordinarily low, at most about one in 10 billion servings. The Centers for Disease Control does not advise against eating European beef, but suggests that travelers who wish to reduce their risk may either abstain from beef while in Europe or eat only solid pieces of muscle meat, such as steak, rather than products like sausage or chopped meat that might be contaminated. There is no evidence of any risk from pork, lamb, milk or milk products. For recent updates, go to ProMED-mail.
An outbreak of Salmonella infections, noteworthy for the organism's resistance to most antibiotics, including quinolones, was reported in June 1998. Twenty-two people were involved. The source of infection appeared to be pork meat of Danish origin. (See Weekly Epidemiological Record(PDF) for further details.)
Legionnaires' disease is reported more frequently from Denmark than from other European countries, but this may be due to increased awareness of the disease among physicians in Denmark, resulting in more frequent diagnoses, rather than increased prevalence compared to other countries. See Weekly Epidemiological Record for details.
Tick-borne encephalitis is reported from Bornholm Island. The disease had not been reported from elsewhere in Denmark until September 2009, when two cases were described in northern Zealand (see Eurosurveillance). Travelers to Bornholm Island should consider vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis (not available in the United States) if they expect to participate in activities which involve leaving the designated paths in woods or scrubland. See Eurosurveillance for further information.
Psittacosis may be transmitted by infected birds.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection is reported, but travelers are not at risk unless they have unprotected sexual contacts or receive injections or blood transfusions.
For detailed information concerning communicable diseases in Denmark, go to the Statens Serum Institut website. For further infectious disease statistics, go to EpiNorth (click on EpiData from the menu on the left).
Insect and Tick Protection
Wear long sleeves, long pants, and boots, with pants tucked in when traveling to rural or forested areas. Apply insect repellents containing 25-50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) or 20% picaridin (Bayrepel) to exposed skin (but not to the eyes, mouth, or open wounds). DEET may also be applied to clothing. Products with a lower concentration of either repellent need to be repplied more frequently. Products with a higher concentration of DEET carry an increased risk of neurologic toxicity, especially in children, without any additional benefit. Do not use either DEET or picaridin on children less than two years of age. For additional protection, apply permethrin-containing compounds to clothing and shoes. Permethrin-treated clothing appears to have little toxicity. Perform a thorough tick check at the end of each day with the assistance of a friend or a full-length mirror. Ticks should be removed with tweezers, grasping the tick by the head. Many tick-borne illnesses can be prevented by prompt tick removal.
Bring adequate supplies of all medications in their original containers, clearly labeled. Carry a signed, dated letter from your personal physician describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to carry a physician's letter documenting their medical necessity. Pack all medications in hand luggage. Carry a duplicate supply in the checked luggage. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring an extra pair. If you have significant allergies or chronic medical problems, wear a medical alert bracelet.
Pack a personal medical kit, customized for your trip (see description). Take appropriate measures to prevent motion sickness and jet lag, discussed elsewhere. On long flights, be sure to walk around the cabin, contract your leg muscles periodically, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent blood clots in the legs. For those at high risk for blood clots, consider wearing compression stockings.
Avoid contact with stray dogs and other animals. If an animal bites or scratches you, clean the wound with large amounts of soap and water and contact local health authorities immediately. Wear sun block regularly when needed. Use condoms for all sexual encounters. Ride only in motor vehicles with seat belts. Do not ride on motorcycles.
Ambulance and Emergency Services
For an ambulance in Denmark and the Faeroe Islands, dial 112.
Health and medical information
(reproduced from the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen)
A visitor to Denmark faces no special health risks, as the overall health conditions are excellent. No special inoculations are required. Any needed immunization is available in Copenhagen. Although Danish law is strict about commercial processing, cooking, handling, and serving of foods, consumers are advised to show caution when using eggs and preparing poultry, as salmonella bacteria has been found in these products. All milk and tap water is safe to drink.
Because Denmark is almost entirely surrounded by sea, it has a moderate, maritime climate. The average temperatures range from 32F in February to 62F in July. Temperatures vary slightly from day to night. Average annual rainfall is 24 inches. Days are short in winter, with about 5 hours of daylight in December and January. Daylight in summer lasts 16-18 hours on clear days.
Danish medical care is of high quality and is comparable to the medical care one finds throughout Western Europe. Diagnostic laboratories and specialists in all fields of medicine are available. Hospitals are well-equipped, and maternity hospitals and many clinics are available. Most doctors and dentists speak English.
The system for providing care in Denmark is different from that in the United States.
Danish citizens and permanent residents of Denmark qualify for free hospitalization and medical treatment under the Danish National Health Service. However, medical treatment and hospital care, covered by the Danish National Health Service, may require referral from a general practitioner, which often creates long waiting periods. To avoid waiting time in these situations, patients may choose to seek medical and hospital care privately as paying patients.
Tourists do not qualify for treatment under the Danish National Health Service, except in cases of emergency. If, however, the medical facility determines that the emergency occurred as a result of a pre-existing condition, the tourist must be prepared to pay for all services received.
Most medicines are available locally. They may not, however, be the same brand names as those used in the United States and prices are generally higher than in the U.S. Tourists should bring a supply of the medicine that they know they will need. In case of emergency - ambulance - fire - police - dial 112.
High quality medical care is widely available. Emergency medical treatment is free, but the patient is charged for follow-up care. For an online list of physicians and hospitals in Denmark, which includes a general introduction to health care in Denmark, go to the U.S. Embassy website. On the Faroe Islands, facilities may be limited; medical evacuation may be necessary for serious illness.
Traveling with children
Before you leave, make sure you have the names and contact information for physicians, clinics, and hospitals where you can obtain emergency medical care if needed.
All children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children who are 12 months or older should receive a total of 2 doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, separated by at least 28 days, before international travel. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 months should be given a single dose of measles vaccine. MMR vaccine may be given if measles vaccine is not available, though immunization against mumps and rubella is not necessary before age one unless visiting a country where an outbreak is in progress. Children less than one year of age may also need to receive other immunizations ahead of schedule (see the accelerated immunization schedule).
Be sure to pack a medical kit when traveling with children. In addition to the items listed for adults, bring along plenty of disposable diapers, cream for diaper rash, and appropriate antibiotics for common childhood infections, such as middle ear infections.
Helpful maps are available in the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Collection and the United Nations map library. If you have the name of the town or city you'll be visiting and need to know which state or province it's in, you might find your answer in the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.
(reproduced from the U.S. State Dept. Consular Information Sheet)
Americans living in or visiting Denmark are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen and obtain updated information on travel and security within Denmark. The U.S. Embassy is located at Dag Hammarskjolds Alle 24; 2100 Copenhagen, Tel: (45) 35-55-31-44. Fax: (45) 35-43-02-23. After hours emergencies: Tel: (45) 35-55-92-70. Information is also available via the U.S. Embassy home page at http://www.usembassy.dk. The U.S. has no consular presence in Greenland or the Faeroe Islands.
For information on safety and security, go to the U.S. Department of State, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign Affairs Canada, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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