Travelers Disease Information
Hepatitis A is very common in developing countries where sanitation is poor.
Travelers can be infected from person-to-person contact or through food and water
that have been contaminated with animal or human feces. In adults, hepatitis A
usually results in liver disease, characterized by jaundice -- a yellowing of the skin --
that can last a month or more. Other symptoms may include fatigue, nausea,
stomach pains, and general weakness; however, children may show no symptoms
at all. The disease can be severe and possibly fatal. If traveling to an area where
hepatitis A is common, your travel health-care professional should ensure that you
receive the hepatitis A vaccine.
Hepatitis B is one of several viruses that may cause hepatitis (liver disease), and
may result in a particularly severe form of hepatitis that leads to liver cancer or
death. It is widespread in many developing countries, especially in Africa, southeast
Asia, the Middle East (except Israel), south and western Pacific Islands, the interior
Amazon Basin, and certain parts of the Caribbean. Travelers who will have daily
physical contact with the local population in areas of the world where hepatitis B is
prevalent should receive vaccination.
Below, information is provided on selected diseases to increase your
awareness and hopefully minimize the risks to your health while away
There are risks associated with all vaccines. As with any vaccine,
vaccination may not protect 100% of individuals. Please consult your
physician for full Prescribing Information.
Maps are for illustrative purposes only. For current information, please consult your travel medical specialist 6-8 weeks before planned departure.
Cholera is a disease characterized by severe diarrhea leading to rapid dehydration which, if untreated, may lead to death
within 24 hours. Cholera is transmitted through contaminated food or water. Cholera may be present in Asia, the Middle East,
Africa, parts of Europe, and South and Central America, including Mexico. Cholera vaccine is no longer required nor
recommended for the vast majority of travelers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The vaccination
consists of 2 injections at least 1 week apart.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by infected female mosquitoes. Malaria may occur as soon as one (1) week after
you enter the tropics, and may progress rapidly to cause seizures, coma, breathing and kidney problems, and death. The
initial symptoms of malaria look much like the common flu -- fever, chills, headache, and generalized aches and pains. You'll
need a blood test to determine if you have malaria.
Meningococcal disease is a significant cause of illness and death worldwide. The
meningococcal bacteria can cause meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal
cord) and a variety of other diseases. The bacteria are usually spread from person
to person via coughing, sneezing, or direct contact. Meningococcal disease can
strike with frightening quickness. The early symptoms -- fever, headache, and
general malaise -- are indistinguishable from many less serious illnesses.
However, the disease can kill an otherwise healthy person within 48 hours, if left
untreated. Vaccination with meningococcal vaccine is recommended for travelers to
countries in the meningitis belt of Africa or to the Hajj (an annual Islamic tradition).
As shown on the map to the right, polio is a disease that occurs in the developing
world outside North and South America, and may result in partial or total paralysis.
Polio is transmitted primarily through food or water contaminated with feces.
Americans traveling to areas of the world where polio is still prevalent should have
received their primary immunization series of polio vaccine and a booster within the
last 10 years. If you have not received the primary series, then you should receive at
least 2 doses of polio vaccine, 4 to 8 weeks apart, prior to departure, if time allows.
A third dose should be administered 6 to 12 months after the second.
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness. It's usually spread under unsanitary
conditions, either person to person, or though contaminated food, drink, or water.
Typhoid fever is characterized by a high fever (which gradually increases, often to
over 104 degrees Farenheit, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, and dizziness.
Other symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, chills, and constipation or
diarrhea. This disease is common in many developing countries of the Indian
subcontinent, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Vaccination is recommended for all travelers to risk areas.
Yellow fever is a viral illness. The disease is carried by some species of
mosquitoes in Central and South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. A mild attack
may have symptoms similar to those of influenza. However, more severe symptoms
may include nausea, vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pains, and yellowing of the skin
as a result of liver damage. Travelers to endemic areas, or those transiting through
a disease area and entering another country, may require a certificate of vaccination
against yellow fever for legal entry. Your vaccination will consist of a single injection,
and can be administered only at a clinic licensed to administer yellow fever vaccine.
Your certificate is valid for 10 years, beginning 10 days after you receive your