Seasonal influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and spreads easily from person to person via respiratory droplets when coughing and sneezing. Symptoms appear rapidly and include fever, muscle aches, headache, malaise (feeling unwell), cough, sore throat and a runny nose. In healthy individuals, symptoms improve without treatment within two to seven days. Severe illness is more common in those aged 65 years or over, those under 2 years of age, or those who have underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for complications of influenza.
Seasonal influenza occurs throughout the world. In the northern hemisphere (including the UK), most influenza occurs from as early as October through to March. In the southern hemisphere, influenza mostly occurs between April and September. In the tropics, influenza can occur throughout the year.
All travellers should:
If individuals at higher risk of severe disease following influenza infection are travelling to a country when influenza is likely to be circulating they should ensure they received a flu vaccination in the previous 12 months.
The vaccine used in the UK protects against the strains predicted to occur during the winter months of the northern hemisphere. It is not possible to obtain vaccine for the southern hemisphere in the UK, but the vaccine used during the UK influenza season should still provide important protection against strains likely to occur during the southern hemisphere influenza season, and in the tropics.
Avian influenza viruses can rarely infect and cause disease in humans. Such cases are usually associated with close exposure to infected bird or animal populations. Where appropriate, information on these will be available in the outbreaks and news sections of the relevant country pages. Seasonal influenza vaccines will not provide protection against avian influenza.
COVID-19 disease is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV2. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature; symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. Older people and those with underlying health problems are more likely to develop severe disease. SARS-CoV2 may have originated from an unknown animal source but is mainly transmitted from human to human by respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions.
COVID-19 has been reported in this country. Latest case numbers are provided by the World Health Organization. Monitor the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice and their country specific pages for travel advisories.
All travellers should:
To reduce the risk of passing coronavirus to others, anyone with respiratory symptoms should:
Should a mask be worn (generally not recommended outside of a clinical setting), all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission should still be used.
Those who develop symptoms of COVID-19 must follow current national guidance; see the Public Health England stay at home guidance.
19 Jan 2016
Depending on the destination, travellers may be at risk of a number of different diseases Read more
Using information collated from a variety of sources, we regularly review and update information on overseas disease outbreaks and other health issues that may affect the UK traveller.
Please note that not all cases of disease or outbreaks are reported; some diseases may only be reported if they occur outside of the usual recognised risk area or season, or they have been reported in greater than usual numbers.
Further information on the Outbreak Surveillance section.