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.
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.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection; it is transmitted by exposure to infected blood or body fluids. This mostly occurs during sexual contact or as a result of blood-to-blood contact (for example from contaminated equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing or body piercing procedures, and sharing of intravenous needles). Mothers with the virus can also transmit the infection to their baby during childbirth.
Hepatitis B in Australia
2% or more of the population are known or thought to be persistently infected with the hepatitis B virus (intermediate/high prevalence).
Travellers should avoid contact with blood or body fluids. This includes:
A sterile medical equipment kit may be helpful when travelling to resource poor areas.
Hepatitis B vaccination
Vaccination could be considered for all travellers, and is recommended for those whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk including:
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a viral infection transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. These mosquitoes usually bite between dusk and dawn, mainly in rural areas; especially where there are rice fields, swamps and marshes. Mosquitoes become infected by biting JE infected animals (particularly pigs) or birds.
Travellers are at increased risk of infection when visiting rural areas. Short trips (usually less than a month) especially if only travelling to urban areas, are considered lower risk.
Japanese encephalitis in Australia
JE occurs in this country, transmission is considered to be year-round. The affected areas are the Torres Strait Islands and Cape York Peninsula in north eastern Australia. Human cases are rarely reported.
All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dusk and dawn.
Japanese encephalitis Australia
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.
Bat Lyssavirus in Australia
Rabies has not been reported in this country; therefore most travellers are considered to be at low risk. However, bats may carry bat lyssavirus (bat rabies).
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.
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.
Country specific diphtheria recommendations are not provided here. Diphtheria tetanus and polio are combined in a single vaccine in the UK. Therefore, when a tetanus booster is recommended for travellers, diphtheria vaccine is also given. Should there be an outbreak of diphtheria in a country, diphtheria vaccination guidance will be provided.
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.