Some information about Diseases Preventable by Vaccination

Yellow Fever

This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes normally from sunrise to sunset. During outbreaks it has up to a 60% mortality rate. Some countries require a certificate proving vaccination before allowing entry. A single vaccine lasts for life although it may be required again for certification purposes. The Yellow Fever Vaccines is available only at Registered Yellow Fever Centres.

The bacteria that causes tetanus is present in soil worldwide, and disease occurs when the bacteria gets into a wound even as minor as a small cut. The disease leads to uncontrollable muscle and possibly death. There is a vaccine to PREVENT tetanus and an immunoglobulin for emergency tetanus cover.
The latter is available only at AE departments,

Polio is a disease of the central nervous system usually spread through contaminated food and water. Many countries have eradicated polio through vaccination although it still exists in some African and Asian countries and cases continue to occur worldwide. Boosters are recommended at 10 yearly intervals if travelling to an endemic country.

Diptheria is a bacterial disease spread mainly by exhaled water droplets and occasionally through infected skin lesions. It can be fatal if left untreated. Travellers are at risk when mixing closely with the local population in most developing countries. Travellers should ensure they have had a diphtheria vaccine within the last 10 years if they are likely to be at risk.

Typhoid is spread through food and water contaminated with faeces. The disease is common in areas with poor standard in food hygiene and preparation, and where suitable treatment of sewage is lacking. It is possible to contract typhoid from shellfish, raw fruit and vegetables fertilised by 'night soil (human waste). A feverish illness will develop 1-3 weeks after infection and without correct diagnosis and treatment, the disease can spread through the gut wall and cause serious infection throughout the body. It is also possible to become a carrier of the disease when bacteria remain in the gut after symptoms have resolved but you continue to be able infect others. This disease can be prevented by healthy eating and drinking and a pre-travel vaccination. A single vaccine is valid for 3 years.

Cholera epidemics typically happen in areas where there are lots of people with very poor hygiene facilities (particularly slums and refugee camps), and areas affected by floods and rainy seasons. Most travellers should experience minimal risk of exposure to cholera but the risk is far greater for emergency relief and health workers in refugee camps. There is an effective vaccine available for cholera administered orally in two doses one to six weeks apart.

TB is mainly spread through infected respiratory droplets but also through unpasteurised milk. Please see the information on BCG Vaccination.

Hepatitis A
This disease affects the liver, and is usually spread through contaminated food and water and close physical contact with an infected person. It is common in developing countries where sanitary conditions are poor and the safety of drinking water is not adequately controlled. The disease can incubate for 3-5 weeks before illness develops. Adults can take many months to fully recover from infection whereas children often have very mild illness but can easily pass it to others. Hepatitis A is prevented by eating 'safe' food and drinking 'safe' water and a pre-travel vaccination. Single vaccine valid for minimum of 1 year, with one booster vaccine valid for 25 years. This length of protection with two vaccines applies to adults and children

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is another disease which affects the liver. It is associated with chronic liver problems leading to increased risk of liver cancer or cirrhosis. It is found worldwide, although the general infection rate is far higher in Africa than elsewhere. Many Hepatitis B infections cause mild symptoms and may not be recognised, however infected individuals may develop into being life long carriers. Hepatitis B is generally spread through unprotected sex and blood, (via blood transfusion, dirty needles, piercing and tattoos etc) however it may also be transmitted through body fluids. It is 100 more times infective than HIV. All travellers should consider a course of Hepatitis B vaccines especially if travelling long term, or those working with children and humanitarian aid workers. It is a 3 dose course of vaccine, which can be given over a 9 month period, or a rapid schedule offering one year of protection can be given over 3 weeks. A booster a year later will offer long term protection after the rapid schedule.


CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK - those who have commenced a course will have their course completed.

Rabies is endemic throughout most of the world and causes approx 60,000 human deaths per year. The virus is carried in the saliva of infected mammals (which may appear normal) and is usually spread by a bite, but licks on open wounds and scratches have been enough to transmit the virus to humans. In the event of possible exposure the area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water, irrigated with iodine based antiseptic and medical attention sought as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. The virus affects the nervous system and once symptoms develop death is inevitable - even with good medical care. A pre-exposure course of 3 vaccines is available and should be administered over a 3 week period.

Sub-Saharan Africa has frequent epidemics of Meningitis particularly in the zone stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia during the dry season. Outbreaks have also been known in India and Nepal during religious pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia. Meningitis is an inflammation of the surface of the brain. Transmission occurs from direct person to person contact and through inhaling infected droplets. A vaccine for strains A,C, W135, and Y is available and should be considered, especially for extended trips or if mixing very closely with the local population during risk season. A certificate of vaccination may be required if visiting Saudi Arabia. Single vaccine lasts 3-5 years, this is dependent on Visa requirements. Please not this vaccine is different to the
meningitis C and meningitis B vaccine.

Japanese Encephalitis
This disease is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito normally between sunset and sunrise. It is most common in rural farming areas of Asia. Most infections have very few symptoms and may not be recognised but severe cases can lead to inflammation of the brain and other symptoms which can be fatal. Risks to travellers are generally very low but vaccination should be considered by people intending to spend a significant length of time in rural areas, particularly during the transmission season (monsoon). The vaccine is a course of 2 injections given 28days apart.

Tick Borne Encephalitis
Spread by the bite of an infected tick and, rarely, via unpasteurised milk from infected cows, sheep and goats. Travellers at risk include those planning to walk, camp or work in long grassy or wooded areas for long periods especially during spring, summer and autumn months as this is when the ticks are most active. If caught, symptoms include flu like illness sometimes followed by neurological complications. If at risk, travellers should consider vaccination which involves 2 initial injections and a booster for extended coverage. They should also avoid tick bites by covering up and treating clothing with permethrin (Bugproof Clothing Treatment) which is a tick killer. Always remove any ticks promptly.

There is a £35 fee for a travel advice consultation with the Doctor. This fee is deducted if vaccines or malaria's are subsequently needed in your consultation. Prices for the most common vaccines can be found on our Fees Page.