Cuba (Caribbean)Advice for All Destinations Immunisations Malaria Other Health Risks Notice Board News
Advice for All Destinations
If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation. You’ll have to consider:
- your destination
- how long you'll stay
- what you’ll be doing
- your general health.
Where possible you should consult with your travel healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. If your trip is sooner, contact them anyway, they may still be able to help. They will assess your particular health risks before giving preventative advice, recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets.
Many of the health problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other measures need to be taken. The consultation allows the opportunity to discuss important travel health risks including safe food and water, accident prevention, sun exposure, insect bites and animal bites.
If you will be travelling with medication (including over the counter medication) you should check for any restrictions on medications before you travel, you can do this by contacting the embassy of the country you're visiting.
A worldwide list of travel clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on their website
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: none.
- Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis B; Rabies; Tetanus.
- Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Cholera; Hepatitis A.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 9 months or over arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
spread through consumption of contaminated water and food. It would be unusual for travellers to contract cholera if they take basic precautions with food and water and maintain a good standard of hygiene.
Risk is higher during floods and after natural disasters, in areas with very poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water.
Risk is highest for humanitarian aid workers; those working in refugee camps or slums; those caring for people with cholera.
spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route.
Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation is poor.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs.
spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse.
Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who change partners frequently; people who inject drugs.
- Rabies:  spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, and also cats and bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children.All travellers should avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic) particularly dogs and cats. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
- Tetanus:  spread 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.
- Malaria not normally present unless the illness was contracted abroad.
Other Health Risks
Dengue FeverA 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 been categorised as having a risk of Zika (ZIKV) virus transmission.
ZIKV is mainly spread through mosquito bites. The mosquito responsible most commonly bites during daylight hours and is abundant in urban settings. There is a low risk of sexual transmission.
The illness itself is usually mild but there is a link between infection during pregnancy and babies being born with birth defects. There is no vaccine currently available against ZIKV.
Advice for All Travellers
All travellers should practice strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times.
Do not travel without adequate travel insurance.
Seek pre-travel health advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel.
- Pregnant women are advised to postpone non-essential travel.
- Those planning pregnancy, or where there is a risk of pregnancy should avoid the risk of ZIKV in pregnancy and sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for:
• 8 weeks afterwards if female
• 6 months afterwards if male
For further information, see Zika virus infection page.