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.
Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.
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.
There are no certificate requirements under International Health Regulations.
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 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.
Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek appropriate medical attention.
Country specific information on medical facilities may be found in the ‘health’ section of the FCO foreign travel advice website.
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.
Hepatitis A (men who have sex with men)
There have been increased numbers of Hepatitis A cases in England, mainly affecting men who have sex with men. Many of these men have reported travel to Spain, where there has recently been a reported increase in hepatitis A among men. The strain of hepatitis A virus identified in cases reported in England and Spain has also been reported in Portugal, most in young adult males.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver spread by a virus present in the faeces of an infected person. It is transmitted through infected faeces contaminating food and water or by direct contact with an infectious person including sexual transmission.
Hepatitis A is not usually life-threatening but severity can increase with age. Most people make a full recovery within a couple of months . Following hepatitis A illness, immunity is lifelong. Gay and bisexual men with multiple partners are particularly at risk.
High risk men who have sex with men with multiple partners may benefit from vaccination and should seek advice from their sexual health or travel clinic prior to travelling.
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.
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).
Travellers should avoid contact with bats. Bites from bats are frequently unrecognised. Bat lyssaviruses are 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.
A full course of pre-exposure vaccines simplifies and shortens the course of post-exposure treatment and removes the need for rabies immunoglobulin which is in short supply world-wide.
05 Apr 2017 Portugal
As of 31 March 2017, a total of 115 hepatitis A cases were reported (107 laboratory confirmed). 97% of cases are in young male adults. Molecular analysis identified a strain, related to travellers returning from Central and South America, previously identified in Spain, the UK and other European countries.
02 Feb 2017 Portugal
As of 31 January 2017, the first case for Portugal has been reported in a wild bird.
02 Dec 2016
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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