Information for travelers about specific diseases that can affect them while traveling.
For travel recommendations by specific country, please see individual country profile.
AIDS is a disease that progressively damages the immune system. It is casued by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Without an effective immune system, life-threatening infections eventually develop. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or cure AIDS. It can be prevented by practicing safe sex.
Bilharzia is a human disease caused by parasitic worms called Schistosomes. The acute form of schistosomiasis is sometimes known as snail fever and cutaneous schistosomiasis is sometimes commonly called swimmer's itch. The disease affects many people in developing countries, and in certain African communities and east Asia.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild and self-limited or subclinical. Severe illness may lead to volume depletion. Even patients with severe cases respond dramatically to simple fluid and electrolyte-replacement therapy. Infection is acquired primarily by ingesting contaminated water or food; person-to-person transmission is rare.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness. Common symptoms include fever, dry cough and tiredness. Serious symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and loss of speech or movement.
Ebola is a disease caused by ebolaviruses. The virus is spread by direct contact with bodily fluid of an infected person or animal. Symptoms typically appear 8 to 10 days after exposure. Some of the symptoms include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. The disease is deadly, killing between 25 - 90 percent of those infected. Because of the high risk of death, seek medical help immediately to improve your chance of survival.
Hepatitis is a group of diseases of the liver that can be caused by consuming contaminated water or food, using dirty needles or syringes, or practicing unsafe sex. Scientists have identified six hepatitis viruses : A, B, C, D, E, F, G. People infected with hepatitis can experience effects ranging from mild illness to serious liver damage. Many recover completely from an infection, while others become carriers of the disease and can spread it to others unknowingly. It can prevented by immunization.
Influenza (flu) is a common contagious respiratory illness caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. Influenza A and B viruses are the two main types that cause infection. Common symptoms include chills, fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and extreme tiredness.
Japanese Encephalitis is a brain infection caused by a virus spread by mosquitoes in asian countries. People travelling to areas outside cities during rainy months are recommended to take injections before entering the areas.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria spread by ticks. Typical symtoms include fever, headache, chills and fatigue. Majority of infected persons experience some form of a rash at the site of the tick bite. The disease can be treated with antibiotics. In visiting infected areas, travelers are recommended to use insect repellents that contain DEET, shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoor, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
Meningitis is an infection that attacts the outer lining of the brain and spinal chord. It is spread from one person to another through direct contact with someone who has meningitis or when someone with meningitis coughs, sneezes or spits. It is recommended that you take an injection when visiting infected areas.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. Typical symptoms include fever, cough, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. The disease is typically more severe in those with other health problems.
Polio is an acute viral infectious disease spreads easily via human-to-human contact. It can be prevented by immunization.
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that is transmitted by the saliva of a rabid mammal.
Transmission usually occurs through a bite, scratch, lick on an open would or more rarely through
saliva landing on a mucous membrane such as an eye or mouth. Rabies can be prevented by immunization.
Tetanus is a medical condition that is characterized by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers. Infection generally occurs through wound contamination, and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound. It can be prevented by immunization.
Typhoid Fever is caused by a bacteria that is spread through contaminated food and water. The best way to avoid it is to make sure that food and water are safe. It can be prevented by vaccination.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria which can cause serious lung infections. It is usually spread by nasal droplets from an infected person. It can affect any organ or tissue in the body. Approximately fifty percent of people infected with tuberculosis will die if untreated.
Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by a virus. It is spread by mosquitoes in the tropical area of Africa and South America. It is important to avoid mosquito bites while visiting these areas. It can be prevented by vaccination.
Zika Virus Disease
Zika is a virus spread to humans by Aedes mosquitoes - the same mosquitoes that spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. It usually causes mild illness, with most people sick with the virus getting a slight fever and skin rash. Pregnant women infected with Zika, are likelyl to give birth to babies with a terrible birth defect called microcephaly, which is characterized by a shrunken head and incomplete brain development.