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 when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the 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 Greece
  • Rabies in wild animals has been reported in the regions of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Thessalia, Western and Central Macedonia in Greece.
  • The rest of Greece is not considered to be a risk for rabies in animals.
  • Bats may carry rabies-like viruses in this country
Prevention
  • Travellers to the regions of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Thessalia, Western and Central Macedonia in Greece should avoid contact with animals.
  • For other areas in Greece 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 parts of  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
For travellers to the regions of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Thessalia, Western and Central Macedonia in Greece:

  • 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.

For other areas in Greece:

  • 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 Greece      
There is a low risk of TBE in some areas of the country. Single cases were reported from around the city of Thessaloniki. 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

Malaria

  • Sporadic cases of locally acquired malaria have been reported in Greece since 2009.
  • There is a very low risk of malaria in Greece: awareness of risk and bite avoidance recommended.

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 Greece

 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

07 Apr 2016

Temporary Hep A vaccination recommendation for Greece lifted

The temporary recommendation to consider Hepatitis A vaccination for those travelling to affected areas in Greece has been removed Read more

24 Dec 2015

Hepatitis A cluster in travellers returning from Rhodes, Greece

Public Health England has identified hepatitis A infections in UK residents who had been to Greece 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

Outbreaks

06 Mar 2017 Greece

As of 3 March 2017, the first cases for Greece have been reported in poultry.

02 Feb 2017 Greece

As of 31 January 2017, the first cases for Greece have been reported in wild birds.

19 Jan 2017 Greece

As of 17 January 2017, the first cases for Greece have been reported in poultry.

28 Dec 2016 Evros. Greece

As of 23 December 2016, the first reported case of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N8) has been confirmed in a wild swan.

22 Aug 2016 Macedonia. Greece

As of 19 August 2016, two cases of locally acquired P.vivax infection have been reported near Thessaloniki. Two cases in Western Greece were reported earlier this year. Locally acquired cases in Greece have been known since 2009 with a peak in 2011, where 42 cases where found across five different regions.

Human

Vector-Borne

New Post

Verified

ECDC - Read more