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.

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

Rabies is a viral infection which is usually transmitted following contact with the saliva of an infected animal most often via a bite, scratch or lick to an open wound or mucous membrane (such as on the eye, nose or mouth). Although many different animals can transmit the virus, worldwide most cases follow a bite or scratch from an infected dog. Bats are also an important source of infection in some countries.

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

The risk of exposure is increased by certain activities and length of stay (see below). Children are at increased risk as they are less likely to avoid contact with animals and to report a bite, scratch or lick.

Rabies in Canada

Rabies has only been reported in wild animals in this country; therefore most travellers are considered to be at low risk for rabies. Bats may also carry rabies-like viruses in this country.

Prevention
  • Travellers should avoid contact with wild animals.  Rabies is preventable with prompt post-exposure 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 domestic animals, it is still sensible to seek prompt medical advice if bitten or scratched by all animals.
  • Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
Rabies vaccination
  • Pre-exposure vaccines are recommended for those who are at increased risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus, those working with animals or health care workers who may be caring for infected patients).
  • Pre-exposure vaccines could be considered for those who are at increased risk of exposure to wild animals.

Rabies 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 Canada

 There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres. An example place of interest, Mt Logan 5,950m.

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

19 Jan 2016

Diseases transmitted by insects and ticks in the Americas

Depending on the destination, travellers may be at risk of a number of different diseases Read more

11 May 2015

Measles: worldwide

A measles reminder for health professionals and travellers Read more

06 May 2015

HPAI viruses: Canada and the United States of America

Novel highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses: Canada and the United States of America Read more

18 Feb 2015

Measles: worldwide

A measles reminder for health professionals and travellers Read more

10 Feb 2015

Imported avian influenza A (H7N9): Canada

First cases of influenza A (H7N9) infection in humans in North America Read more

Outbreaks

02 Mar 2017 Ontario. Canada

As of 1 March 2017, the first three cases of Seoul virus infection have been reported in Ontario. Authorities are investigating a link to pet rats and links to an ongoing outbreak in United States.

Human

Haemorrhagic fever

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20 Feb 2017 View Regions +


As of 14 February 2017, a total of 221 cases of gastrointestinal illness are under investigation in connection with consumption of raw or undercooked oysters across British Columbia (159), Alberta (36), and Ontario (26) since December 2016. Norovirus has been identified as the causative agent in several cases.

Human

Food and water-borne

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28 Dec 2016 Canada

As of 19 December 2016, the first reported human case of Influenza A(H3N2)v was confirmed. The case had confirmed exposure to unwell pigs.

Human

Air-Borne

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WHO - Read more

12 Aug 2016 View Regions +



As of 11 August 2016, 51 cases of locally acquired cyclosporiasis have been confirmed in four states, between May and July. Between 2004 and 2013, an average of 166 cases annually were reported.

Human

Food and water-borne

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18 Apr 2016 View Regions +


As of 15 April 2016, 12 cases associated with a brand of frozen fruit have been reported from three provinces. Individuals became sick in February and March 2016. Three cases have been hospitalised. The products have been recalled from four provinces.

Human

Food and water-borne

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