What is Polio and How does it Spread?

Polio is a potentially deadly, life-altering disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system and attacks the brain and spinal cord, often making the patient paralyzed. Mainly spread by person-to-person contact by eating raw or undercooked food or drinking water or other drinks that are contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.

What is Polio Vaccine and Why should Travellers get the vaccine?

The Polio vaccination protects individuals from the Polio virus. There are two variants in circulation: injectable and oral. Oral vaccination is used throughout most of the developing world. Canada uses an injectable polio vaccine to prevent any accidental outbreaks.

Who Should get Polio Vaccine?

All children should receive the Polio vaccine. They should receive one dose at two months, four months, six to 18 months and four to six-years-old. Travellers going to certain parts of Africa and Asia may be at risk of polio. A one-time adult Polio vaccine booster dose is recommended for previously vaccinated travellers to certain countries. Even though some people are vaccinated in their childhood, they should still need to get a booster dose. People who handle specimens of Poliovirus, health care workers who may come in contact with infected people should get vaccinated.

Polio Symptoms

Most people with Polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs.

Typical symptoms:

  1. Sore Throat
  2. Fever
  3. Fatigue
  4. Nausea or Stomach pain
  5. Headache

Serious Symptoms

  1. Paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in legs)
  2. Meningitis
  3. Paralysis
  4. Brain or Spinal issues
  5. Permanent disability or death

What can travellers do to Prevent the Disease?


  1. Get Polio Vaccinated.
  2. Eat safe food and drinks/ safe beverages.
  3. Practice hygiene and cleanliness.
  4. Wash your hands often, using soap or sanitizer (Containing at least 60% alcohol.).
  5. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  6. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  7. Avoid close contact with other people such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils and cups.

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (Flu)

What is Influenza (Flu) and how does it Spread?

Influenza, or the flu, is a viral infection that spreads from person-to-person. Influenza spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. Droplets can land up to six feet away and be inhaled by others.

What is Influenza (flu) Vaccine and why should Travellers get the vaccine?

The flu shot, or influenza vaccination, should be taken against the flu. Quadrivalent Flu Vaccination is the standard flu vaccination that most individuals receive annually. People should get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travel because it takes 2 weeks for vaccine immunity to develop after vaccination.

Who Should get Influenza (flu) Vaccine?

The risk of exposure to influenza during travel depends somewhat on the time of year and destination. The travellers should get vaccinated depending on the destination and the season you are traveling. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly, preferably in the fall before the U.S. flu season begins. 

Influenza (flu) Symptoms

  1. Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue.
  2. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than in adults.
  3. It is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

What can Travellers do to Prevent the Disease?

  1. Clothing, bedding, utensils, and dishes used by an infected person should not be shared.
  2. Regularly clean common or frequently touched surfaces.
  3. Pay proper attention to announcements from the local government in your travel destination
  4. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  5. Prevent sharing of clothes, bedding, and dishes
  6. Avoid close contact with sick people
  7. When you cough uses tissue or sneeze into the upper sleeve, not to the hands.
  8. Cover your mouth and nose with tissues.
  9. If there is any used tissues, put the used tissues properly in to a dustbin and dispose

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)

What is Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) and How does it spread?

Tetanus is an illness. Unlike other infections, this can occur after an injury with a contaminated object. It can easily enter the body through often cuts or wounds made by contaminated objects. Diphtheria is a bacterial disease spreads from person-to-person through droplets from coughing or sneezing which can stay on a surface for a long period of time. Pertussis Is Also known as whooping cough, which is a highly contagious bacterial infection. This happens to damage the airway when the bacteria enter the body through the respiratory system and release toxins.

What is Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine and Why should Travelers get the vaccine?

The tetanus vaccine comes in three forms, Tdap (both for adults), and DTaP (for children).DTaP – protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, designed for children. Tdap – A booster immunization designed for preteens, teens, and adults. Td – Protects against only tetanus and diphtheria. It is a popular booster for those needing protection against just one type of infection. Tetanus is very dangerous. It can lead to paralysis and sometimes creates difficulty to breathe. Even with intensive care, 10%–20% of people with tetanus die.

Who should get Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine

Everybody should be vaccinated, especially if you are a frequent traveler, you should get a tetanus booster every ten years’ time, as these are serious infections which can easily make complications in children, seniors, and everyone. And everyone should get vaccinated up to date on all tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccinations and boosters. People who have never been vaccinated against tetanus need the full course of three shots given a month apart. People who are doing construction work or demolishing buildings should get vaccinated

Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) Symptoms

  1. Tetanus- Headache, painful muscle stiffness, trouble swallowing, seizures, fever, and high blood pressure.
  2. Diptheria-weakness, sore throat, fever, and swollen neck glands
  3. Pertussis –Early symptoms are most dangerous for babies under one year. They get runny nose, fever, cough and pauses in breathing.

What can travelers do to prevent the disease?

  1. Get medical attention for any wound if it is larger than 5cm, has a jagged edge, has dirt on the surface or if it is caused by a human or animal bite.
  2. If you get a wound, you need to have a bit of extra care and vigilance because they can easily become infected.

Chickenpox  (Varicella)

Chickenpox (Varicella)

What is Chickenpox (Varicella)? 

Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. “A blister-like rash comes across the body and it is common for those infected to have between 250 and 500 itchy, annoying blisters. Babies, adults, and those with a weakened immune system are at high risk. Getting the vaccination done is the best prevention. “

What is Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine and why Should Travellers get the Vaccine ?

The Chickenpox vaccine is safe and effective. The Chickenpox vaccine is safe and effective. Getting the Chickenpox vaccine can protect you against the Varicella-zoster virus. In Canada, Passport health offers the Varivax vaccine. This provides protection against Chickenpox and is approved for use in children 12 to 15 months and four to six years old.

Who Should get Chickenpox ( Varicella) Vaccine ?

Usually, children receive two doses. One is at 12 to 15 months and another is at four to six years old. The second dose can be given after at least three months, if necessary. Usually, children receive two doses. Anyone over the age of 13 who has never had chickenpox should get two doses at least 28 days apart. Individuals who had an allergic reaction to a previous dose, pregnant women and immune-compromised persons should not get the vaccine.

Chickenpox (Varicella) Symptoms

  1. Itchy, fluid-filled blisters
  2. Rash (especially on face, chest, and back)
  3. Fever, tiredness, loss of appetite

What can Travellers do to Prevent the Disease?

  1. Get the Varicella vaccine
  2. One dose of the vaccine should be given to ages 12 months through to 3 years of age.
  3. Children (4 years of age and above), adolescents and adults should get 2 doses of the vaccine.




What is Cholera and how Does it Spread?

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio Cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. The Cholera bacterium is usually found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by faeces from a person infected with Cholera. Cholera is most likely to be found and spread in places with inadequate water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water. The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk of becoming ill.

What is Cholera Vaccine and Why Should Travellers get the Vaccine?

Cholera vaccination is called Dukoral and is currently recommended for Canadian travellers. The vaccine is administered orally in two doses one taken up to six weeks prior to departure and the second taken at least one week before the trip. The vaccination protects against travellers’ diarrhoea for up to three months and from Cholera infection for up to two years. A single booster dose is recommended every three months for those travellers staying in an at-risk destination for a longer time period.

Who Should get Cholera Vaccine

Travellers to countries where cholera is a risk, travellers who visit friends and family in an outbreak area or working in high-risk settings, travelers who work at higher risk areas such as refugee or cholera treatment centers, travelers who stay longer or have less access to safe food and water. Extra precaution should be taken when travelling to the following locations: Haiti / Dominican republic / Cuba / Tanzania

Cholera Symptoms

  1. Watery diarrhea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Rapid dehydration
  4. Nausea

What can Travellers do to Prevent the Disease?

  1. Safe eating and drinking practices.
  2. Eat raw vegetables, peel them and wash them properly before consuming.
  3. Use safe drinking water.
  4. Avoid salads or raw foods made with fresh produce.
  5. Have drinks without ice as the water used in the cubes may be contaminated.
  6. Eat properly cooked foods only when they are served hot.
  7. Brush your teeth with drinking safe water.
  8. Boil water or use a chemical disinfectant or treat your water with ultraviolet light.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella  (MMR)

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

What is Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and How does it Spread?

This is called German measles or Rubella, which is a disease spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing. Should avoid sharing items, like cups or drink cans. The virus can also live on items and surfaces for several hours touched by an infected person.

Why Should Travellers get the Vaccine ?

MMR vaccine is safe for use with very few, mild side effects. Travelers going outside the United States are at risk for Rubella. Travellers may be unaware that they have been in contact with an infected person since symptoms are not visible and common.

Who should get Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine?

There are some groups with an increased risk of infection. These include students at post-high school centers, all adults without evidence of immunity; international travelers; especially if going to a region with active infection, healthcare professionals or people who live/work with the immunocompromised.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella  (MMR) Symptoms

Rubella has generally mild symptoms: headache, pink eye, cough and fever are common. Mumps is a virus known for its symptoms of puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. Rubella has generally mild symptoms. Headache, pink eye, cough and fever are common. As symptoms, you can get a rash and fever for 2 to 3 days. Some people do not feel sick. If a pregnant woman gets Rubella virus, her baby could have birth defects such as deafness, cataracts, heart defects, mental disabilities, and even organ damage.

What can travellers do to Prevent the Disease?

  1.  Make sure you are fully vaccinated or otherwise protected against measles.
  2. Infants 6-11 months of age should have 1 dose of measles vaccine if travelling internationally.
  3. Children 12 months of age or older should have 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.
  4. Adolescents and adults who have not had Rubella or have not been vaccinated with MMR should get 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.
  5.  Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) has been used safely and effectively since the 1970s. But a few people experience mild, temporary, adverse reactions from the vaccine, such as joint pain; but serious side effects are extremely rare. There is no link between MMR and autism.
  6. Practice hygiene and cleanliness. Wash your hands often if soap and water are not available, and clean your hands with hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  7. Prevent touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to connect your face, ensure your hands are clean.
  8. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  9. Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick.