Travel Diseases

Altitude Sickness

§ Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness and swollen ankles

§ Shortness of breath with reduced exercise tolerance is an indicator of a medical emergency

§ This illness can be fatal

§ If you are travelling over 3000m this can affect you

§ It is not possible to determine who will get altitude sickness

§ There is medication that can assist your body in acclimatising to the altitude


§ An acute bacterial infection of the small intestine causing severe watery diarrhoea and dehydration

§ Caused by eating and drinking contaminated water

§ Can be fatal within a few hours if untreated

§ Preventable by vaccine

~ Traveller's Diarrhoea ~

·  Very common problem for travellers

·  Caused by eating and drinking contaminated water

·  E.Coli the most common cause

·  The Cholera vaccine provides some cover against the most common causes of traveller’s diarrhoea

·  Good hygiene practices plus food and water precautions can prevent illness

COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus)

§ COVID-19 is from a virus family that can cause illness ranging from a mild common cold to severe chest infection

§ The virus causes illness in the lower respiratory tract

§ It can be similar to the common cold and be very mild with a headache and runny nose

§ Other symptoms include, but are not exclusive of, cough, fever and breathing difficulties

§ In severe cases, such as with the medically vulnerable, it can lead to pneumonia and serious complications. There have been reports of individuals being mildly ill and then rapidly becoming unwell

§ It is spread through saliva and respiratory droplets - when a person coughs or sneezes or kisses another

§ It is spread easily through close contact

§ Currently the incubation period to when individuals become unwell is between 2 and 14 days or more after infection

§ Not yet preventable by vaccine

Dengue Fever

§  Causes high fever, severe headaches, eye pain, body aches, vomiting, diarrhoea and flushing of the skin

§     1 - 2 weeks of being severely unwell with flu like illness

§ Slow recovery

§     Spread by day-biting mosquitoes

§     No treatment available

§    Repellent containing at least 30 % DEET advised for mosquito deterent

§    Vaccination available by special order only and eligibility criteria applies

Hepatitis A

§     A seriously debilitating disease lasting 3 months or longer

§     Contracted from food and water

§    Hepatitis A is contagious. The incubation period is 2-3 weeks, so you may contract this on holiday and spread it to your friends or work colleagues before you have symptoms of the disease

§   Those over 40 years of age usually become seriously ill from Hepatitis A and some older people may die from this disease

§      Alcohol must be avoided for 6 months if you contract this disease

§     Preventable by vaccine

§     2 doses of vaccine provides life cover

Hepatitis B

§      A seriously debilitating and highly contagious disease lasting for the rest of your (shortened) life

§   Contracted by medical procedures, assault, accidents, blood splashes, or lifestyle misadventures (exchange of bodily fluids)

§     If contracted, this disease can be fatal

§     Alcohol must be avoided for 6 months if you contract this disease

§     Preventable by vaccine

§  3 doses of vaccine over 6 months gives life cover, 2 doses will provide enough cover for your trip

Hepatitis C

§      Essentially the same as Hepatitis B but is not preventable by vaccination


§       An acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses

§   Symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, body aches and pains, severe malaise, sore throat with cough and runny nose

§       Circulates year round and worldwide

§       Vaccination is highly recommended for most travellers

Japanese Encephalitis

§   Most infections are mild, though approx. 1 in 300 cases result in severe illness

§    Potential for permanent and ongoing problems

§    Transmitted by mosquitoes in rural areas

§   Preventable by vaccine


§    Causes fever, aches and pains, vomiting, diarrhoea and jaundice

§    Spread by mosquitoes in many parts of the world

§    Not preventable by vaccine

§ Prevention by taking medication (chemoprophylaxis) whilst away and avoiding mosquitoes

§ A medical professional, specially trained in travel medicine, should be consulted for the correct medication and dosage


§   A highly contagious and severe illness

§   Transmitted via droplets from nose, mouth or throat of an infected person

§   Initial symptoms include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes and white spots on the inside of the mouth

§  A rash then develops starting on the face and neck spreading down the body

§  Complications can occur such as blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea with related dehydration and pneumonia

§   Preventable by vaccine

Meningococcal Meningitis

§    A highly fatal disease

§  Meningococcal disease has various strains. Vaccination is available for strains A, B, C, W and Y.

§    Rapidly progressive (within 48 hours)

§    Spread by droplet infection from other people

§    Required for entry to Saudi Arabia during Hajj

§    Preventable by vaccine


§    Almost always fatal once symptoms develop

§    Carried by all mammals, not just dogs, and they may not exhibit symptoms.

§    Prevalent in most overseas countries

§   Incubation period is from 10 days up to 17 years. Once symptoms become apparent, successful treatment is not possible

§    Lifelong immunity achieved through vaccination

§   Post exposure rabies treatment is available but access can be difficult, even impossible to obtain in some countries

§    A highly effective vaccine is available


§    A food and water-borne disease usually resulting in hospitalisation (severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain)

§    Most prevalent in developing nations

§    Previous illness does not help immunity

§    Preventable by vaccine

Tick Borne Encephalitis

§    Viral infection of the central nervous system

§    Cold and flu-like symptoms initially

§    A possibility of a 2nd, more severe, phase which includes symptoms such as meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis or radiculitis

§    Potentially fatal

§    Protective measures to prevent ticks should be taken

§    Preventable by vaccine

§    Vaccine available in Australia via the Special Access Scheme

Yellow Fever

§    Highly fatal, mosquito borne disease

§   A certificate as proof of vaccination may be required for entry and exit in some countries, especially entry to Australia

§  Advisable to have the vaccine if visiting countries in parts of Africa and South America

§   Vaccination only available at accredited vaccination centres registered with the World Health Organisation (WHO), such as Travel Bug Vaccination Clinic

§    Vaccination provides lifetime protection to most adults

§    Must be over 9 months of age to receive vaccination

Childhood Vaccinations

It is very important, if travelling, to have these up to date:

§   Tetanus / Diphtheria / Polio / Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

§   Measles / Mumps / Rubella

§   Chicken Pox (Varicella)


These diseases are more common overseas but you can also catch them here.

Please research your vaccination history before your appointment - it will save you money if you have already had them!