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Advice for All Destinations Vaccinations Malaria Other Health Risks Alerts News

COVID-19

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and travel restrictions being imposed without notice.

Before making travel plans you should check all of the following:

Advice for All Destinations

If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation, including:

  • your destination
  • how long you'll stay
  • what you’ll be doing
  • your general health

Ideally 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 and its never too late to seek advice.

Many of the health problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other measures need to be taken. These include food and water safety, accident prevention, care with sun exposure, avoiding insect bites and animal bites, and practicing good respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene.

For advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings you should visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website.

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.

Ensure you have travel insurance and are fully covered for medical emergencies including repatriation. 

Make sure you know how to access healthcare at your destination: 

  • A list of doctors and medical facilities worldwide can be accessed on the FCDO website.
  • A worldwide list of travel clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on their website.

If you are unwell on return from travel, seek medical attention and let your healthcare practitioner know where you have been.

Vaccinations

  • 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: Poliomyelitis.
  • Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; Rabies; Tetanus; Tick-borne Encephalitis; Typhoid.
  • Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Cholera; Japanese Encephalitis.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 9 months or over 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. This requirement does not apply to travellers whose itineraries are limited to Hong Kong and Macao.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above

  • Cholera 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.

  • Hepatitis A 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.

  • Hepatitis B 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.

  • Japanese Encephalitis spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Risk is highest for long stay travellers to rural areas, particularly if unable to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Poliomyelitis spread mainly through person to person contact (faecal-oral route) and by consuming contaminated food and water. A total of 5 doses of polio-containing vaccine are recommended in the UK for lifetime cover. Boosters are usually recommended for travel to countries where polio remains a problem.

    Countries may require proof of polio vaccination when you leave them: check the 'Alerts' section below to see if there are any 'Polio Vaccination Exit recommendations' for this country.

  • Rabies spread through the saliva of infected animals (especially dogs, cats, bats and monkeys), usually through a bite, scratch or lick to broken skin. Risk is higher for those working or living in remote or rural areas (with no easy access to medical facilities), longer stay travellers, those planning on undertaking activities such as trekking, cycling or running in a 'high risk' country, those working with, or regularly handling animals or bats, as part of their job, and children. Even after receiving pre-travel rabies vaccine, 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.
  • Tick-borne Encephalitis spread mainly through tick bites. Risk is higher during the warmer months between spring to autumn. Spending long periods of time outdoors in forests or rural areas whilst undertaking outdoor activities such as camping, rambling or mountain biking increases your risk.
  • Typhoid spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Malaria

Malaria not normally present unless the illness was contracted abroad.

Other Health Risks

Altitude and Travel

This country has either areas with high altitude (2400m or more) or/and areas with very high altitude (3658m or more). Travellers who may go into areas of high altitude should take care to avoid ill effects of being at altitude including Acute Mountain Sickness, a potentially life-threatening condition. For further information see Altitude and Travel

Dengue Fever

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

Schistosomiasis

A parasitic infection (also known as bilharzia) that is transmitted to humans through contact with fresh water. The parasite enters humans through the skin and prevention is dependant on avoidance of swimming, bathing or paddling in fresh water lakes and streams. For further information see Schistosomiasis

Alerts

COVID-19

There is a low risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in this country.

Please be aware that risk of COVID-19 in this country may change at short notice, and also consider your risk in any transit countries and from travelling itself.

Polio Vaccination Exit Recommendations

Travellers visiting this country for longer than 4 weeks may be advised to have a booster dose of a polio containing vaccine if they have not had one in the past 12 months. They should carry proof of having had this vaccination. Please speak to your travel health adviser to discuss.

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