Advice for All Destinations
Other Health Risks
Advice for All Destinations
The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.
Measles occurs worldwide and is common in developing countries. The pre-travel consultation is a good opportunity to check that you are immune, either by previous immunisation or natural measles infection.
Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. UK travellers visiting other European Union countries should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries. Online applications normally arrive within seven days. Applications may also be made by telephone on 0845 606 2030 or by post using the form which can be downloaded from the website.
For Travel Safety Advice you should visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
A worldwide list of clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on the ISTM website.
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised:
Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
- Other vaccines to consider:
Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Typhoid.
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for all travellers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
- Hepatitis A:
through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
- Hepatitis B:
through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
- Malaria not normally present unless the illness was contracted abroad.
Other Health Risks
A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain - hence its other name 'breakbone fever'. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites.
For further information see Dengue Fever.
This country has reported cases of Zika virus infection in the past 9 months. Avoidance of mosquito bites, at all times, is recommended for all travellers.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, you are strongly urged to seek pre-travel advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will help you understand the risks and make an informed decision on whether to reconsider your travel plans.
If you are pregnant and have just returned from this country you should arrange to have your next antenatal check promptly, even if feeling well. This is a precautionary measure for reassurance.
If any feverish illness is experienced whilst travelling or on return medical attention must be sought quickly.
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