General information

The information on these pages should be used to research health risks and to inform the pre-travel consultation. For advice regarding safety and security please check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

Travellers should ideally arrange an appointment with their health professional at least four to six weeks before travel. However, even if time is short, an appointment is still worthwhile. This appointment provides an opportunity to assess health risks taking into account a number of factors including destination, medical history, and planned activities. For those with pre-existing health problems, an earlier appointment is recommended.

While most travellers have a healthy and safe trip, there are some risks that are relevant to travellers regardless of destination. These may for example include road traffic and other accidents, diseases transmitted by insects or ticks, diseases transmitted by contaminated food and water, sexually transmitted infections, or health issues related to the heat or cold.

All travellers should ensure they have adequate travel health insurance. If visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries carry an European health insurance card (EHIC) as this will allow access to state-provided healthcare in EEA countries, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. The EHIC, however, is not an alternative to travel insurance.

A list of useful resources including advice on how to reduce the risk of certain health problems is available below.

Resources

Vaccine recommendations

Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.

All Travellers

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.  These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine.

Those who may be at increased risk of an infectious disease due to their work, lifestyle choice, or certain underlying health problems should be up to date with additional recommended vaccines. See the individual chapters of the ‘Green Book’ Immunisation against infectious disease for further details.

Certificate Requirements

There are no certificate requirements under International Health Regulations.

Most Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country. Information on these vaccines can be found by clicking on the blue arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a toxin released from Clostridium tetani and occurs worldwide.  Tetanus bacteria are present in soil and manure and may be introduced through open wounds such as a puncture wound, burn or scratch.

Prevention
Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek appropriate medical attention.

Tetanus vaccination
  • Travellers should have completed a primary vaccination course according to the UK schedule.
  • If travelling to a country where medical facilities may be limited, a booster dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine is recommended if the last dose was more than ten years ago even if five doses of vaccine have been given previously.

Country specific information on medical facilities may be found in the ‘health’ section of the FCO foreign travel advice website.

Tetanus in brief

Some Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for some travellers visiting this country. Information on when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Rabies (Bat Lyssavirus)

Although rare, bat lyssaviruses (bat rabies) can be transmitted to humans or other animals following contact with the saliva of an infected bat most often by a bite. The disease can also be transmitted if the saliva of an infected bat gets into open wounds or mucous membranes (such as on the eye, nose or mouth). Bat lyssaviruses can cause disease in humans that is indistinguishable from rabies.

Symptoms can take some time to develop, but when they do the condition is almost always fatal.

The risk to most travellers is low. However, it is increased for certain occupations for example bat handlers and veterinarians, or certain activities such as caving.

Bat Lyssavirus in Italy
Rabies has not been reported in domestic or wild animals in this country; therefore most travellers are considered to be at low risk. However, bats may carry bat lyssavirus (bat rabies).

Prevention
  • Travellers should avoid contact with bats. Bites from bats are frequently unrecognised. Rabies-like disease caused by bat lyssaviruses is preventable with prompt post-exposure rabies treatment.
  • Following a possible exposure, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and an urgent local medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial. Although rabies has not been reported in other animals in this country, it is sensible to seek prompt medical advice if bitten or scratched. It is possible, although very rare for bats to pass rabies like viruses to other animals including pets.
  • Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
Rabies vaccination
  • Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are recommended for those who are at increased risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus and those working with bats).
  • Pre exposure vaccines could be considered for those whose activities put them at increased risk of exposure to bats.

 Rabies in brief

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)

TBE is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. Less commonly, cases of TBE occur following ingestion of unpasteurised milk products.

Travellers are at increased risk of exposure during outdoor activities in areas of vegetation (gardens, parks, forest fringes and meadows typically below 1,500 metres). Ticks are most active between spring and autumn

TBE in Italy       
There is a low risk of TBE in some areas of Italy.   A small number of cases have been identified around the cites of Florence, Trento and Belluno, and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The transmission season varies, however, ticks are most active during early spring to late autumn (March to November).

Prevention

  • All travellers should avoid tick bites during outdoor activities.
  • Travellers should check their skin regularly for ticks and remove them as soon as possible with a recommended technique.
  • Travellers should not eat or drink unpasteurised milk products.
Tick-borne encephalitis vaccination
  • TBE vaccine is not normally given to travellers to this country.

  TBE in brief

Other risks

The risk below may be present in all or part of the country.

Altitude

There is a risk of altitude illness when travelling to destinations of 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) or higher. Important risk factors are the altitude gained, rate of ascent and sleeping altitude. Rapid ascent without a period of acclimatisation puts a traveller at higher risk.

There are three syndromes; acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE). HACE and HAPE require immediate descent and medical treatment.

Altitude illness in Italy

 There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres.

Prevention

  • Travellers should spend a few days at an altitude below 3,000m.
  • Where possible travellers should avoid travel from altitudes less than 1,200m to altitudes greater than 3,500m in a single day.
  • Ascent above 3,000m should be gradual. Travellers should avoid increasing sleeping elevation by more than 500m per day and ensure a rest day (at the same altitude) every three or four days.
  • Acetazolamide can be used to assist with acclimatisation, but should not replace gradual ascent.
  • Travellers who develop symptoms of AMS (headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and sleep disturbance) should avoid further ascent. In the absence of improvement or with progression of symptoms the first response should be to descend.
  • Development of HACE or HAPE symptoms requires immediate descent and emergency medical treatment.

Altitude illness in brief

Important News

10 Oct 2016

Legionnaires’ disease: Italy

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has been reported in the Montebello district of Parma, Italy Read more

22 Jun 2015

MERS-CoV update: Republic of Korea and China

Ongoing surveillance of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Republic of Korea (South Korea) and China Read more

05 Jun 2015

MERS-CoV: Republic of Korea and China

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) update: Republic of Korea and China Read more

18 Feb 2015

Measles: worldwide

A measles reminder for health professionals and travellers Read more

Outbreaks

20 Jan 2017 Italy

As of 17 January 2017, the first cases for Italy have been reported in wild birds.

12 Jan 2017 Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Italy

As of 30 December 2017, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N5) has been reported in a group of wild ducks (widgeons).

02 Dec 2016 View Countries + Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
France
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Lithuania
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden

As of 25 November 2016, a range of Dutch cured fish products exported to 16 European countries have been recalled due to the risk of food poisoning with Clostridium botulinum Type E

Human

Food and water-borne

New Post

Verified

European Commission - Read more

10 Nov 2016 Parma. Italy

As of 29 October 2016, three infected water storage units in the municipal water supply system have been identified as the source of the outbreak. The onset of the last case was 9 Ocotber 2016.

Human

Air-Borne

Updates 1

Verified

State - Read more

10 Oct 2016 View Regions +

As of 8 October 2016, three new cases were reported in Bologna (1) and Cremona (2) in the past week.

Human

Vector-Borne

Updates 1

Verified

ECDC - Read more

15 Aug 2016 View Countries + Italy
Somalia

As of 11 August 2016,  the first two cases for Somalia have been reported in two travellers returning to Italy in June-July 2016.

Human

Imported

Vector-Borne

New Post

Verified

CDC - Read more

07 Apr 2016 Tuscany. Italy

As of 6 April 2016, a case of VTEC-caused haemolytic uremic syndrome in a  child has been reported. The child had consumed a brand of cheese imported from Romania linked with 18 cases in Romania of which three were fatal. The Romania operator has recalled their products from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Human

Food and water-borne

New Post

Verified

ECDC - Read more