Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include:Read more: Travel Medicine Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
What Is Viral Hepatitis? How You Catch Hepatitis A, B, and C
Hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B can make an infected person very sick and they are risk factors for liver cancer, liver...
Travel Health Slideshow: 25 Ways to Stay Well Abroad
Explore travel health tips and vaccines to prevent disease while abroad. Learn to protect yourself against malaria, hepatitis,...
Related Disease Conditions
What Do Chiggers Bites Look Like?
Chiggers are a mite belonging to the Trombiculidae family. Chiggers are most commonly found in grassy fields, gardens, parks, forests, and moist areas around lakes or rivers. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into the skin. Chiggers insert a feeding structure into the skin and inject enzymes that destroy host tissue. The chiggers then feed on this dead tissue. The most common symptom of a chigger bite is itching. Treatment generally includes antihistamines and calamine lotion.
Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness. Infected ticks spread disease once they've bitten a host, allowing the pathogens in their saliva and mouth get into the host's skin and blood. Tick bites are typically painless, but the site of the bite may later itch, burn, turn red, and feel painful. Individuals allergic to tick bites may develop a rash, swelling, shortness of breath, numbness, or paralysis. Tick bite treatment involves cleaning and applying antibiotic cream.
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include diarrhea, pain, and blood in the stool. There are several causes of colitis, including infection, ischemia of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis like C. difficile, or microscopic colitis). Treatment depends on the cause of the colitis.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes symptoms such as fever, sweating, and a rash with papules and pustules on the face and chest. PCR, ELISA, or Western blot tests are used to diagnose monkeypox. Treatment usually involves administering a smallpox vaccination, cidofovir, and possibly vaccinia immune globulin.
Diarrhea is a change in the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)
Stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is a term referred used to describe a variety of gastrointestinal problems. The most common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States is Norovirus. Other causes of gastroenteritis include Rotavirus, Astrovirus, Adenovirus, and Sapovirus. There are bacterial causes of gastroenteritis such as Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter Aeromonas, E. coli, Clostridium, Vibrio, Campylobacter, and Yersinia spp. Parasites that cause gastroenteritis include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and Entamoeba. Treatment for gastroenteritis is generally home remedies such as keeping hydrated to prevent dehydration. At times, hospitalization may be necessary if dehydration occurs.
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract, and uterus. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms and treatment depend on the location of the clot.
Amebiasis (Entamoeba Histolytica Infection)
Amebiasis is an infection caused by an amoeba. Signs and symptoms include bloody stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, and gas. Treatment may involve taking luminal agents or antibiotics. Surgery may be indicated for various reasons.
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread from person to person through nasal secretions or droplets. Symptoms and signs of leprosy include numbness, loss of temperature sensation, painless ulcers, eye damage, loss of digits, and facial disfigurement. Leprosy is treated with antibiotics and the dosage and length of time of administration depends upon which form of leprosy the patient has.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of many conditions including motion sickness, pregnancy, emotional stress, gallbladder disease, and other illnesses. Learn about causes, treatment, and when to be concerned.
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Giardiasis (Giardia lamblia) is a parasite responsible for a common form of infectious diarrhea. The parasite lives in two stages: trophozoites and cysts. People at risk for giardiasis are those that live in areas where there is inadequate sanitation or treatment of drinking water. Giardiasis also is a common cause of outbreaks of diarrhea in day-care centers. Symptoms and signs of giardiasis include abdominal pain, stomach cramping, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. Treatment for giardiasis is with antibiotic medication.
Hepatitis (Viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, G)
Hepatitis is most often viral, due to infection with one of the hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F (not confirmed), and G) or another virus (such as those that cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus disease). The main nonviral causes of hepatitis are alcohol and drugs. Many patients infected with hepatitis A, B, and C have few or no symptoms of illness. For those who do develop symptoms of viral hepatitis, the most common are flu-like symptoms including: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, tiredness, and aching in the abdomen. Treatment of viral hepatitis is dependent on the type of hepatitis.
Dengue fever is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms and signs of dengue include headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint and muscle pain, rash, and swollen glands. Since dengue is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine to treat it. Treatment instead focuses on relieving the symptoms.
Trichinosis Worm Infection
Trichinosis is a food-borne disease caused by ingesting parasites (roundworms) in undercooked pork or wild-game meat. Symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, itching, fever, chills, and joint pains.Trichinosis usually resolves without treatment, but more severe cases are treated with thiabendazole (Mintezol), albendazole (Abenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
Is Hepatitis Contagious?
Hepatitis means "inflammation of the liver," and there are several different types of such as A, B, C, D, and E. Some types of hepatitis are contagious and some types are not. Hepatitis symptoms vary upon the type of disease; however, the following symptoms may develop in someone with hepatitis: fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and discomfort, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), and loss of appetite. Treatment for hepatitis depends upon the cause. Some types of hepatitis have a vaccine to prevent spread of disease such as hepatitis A and B.
Jet lag (desynchonosis) is a temporary disorder that results from travel across time zones. Symptoms include anxiety, constipation, headache, nausea, dehydration, diarrhea, confusion, sweating, irritability, and even memory loss.
E. coli (0157:H7) Infection
There are many types of E. coli (Escherichia coli). E. coli can cause urinary tract and bladder infections, or lead to sepsis. E coli O157:H7 (EHEC) causes bloody diarrhea and colitis. Complications of E. coli infection include hemorrhagic diarrhea, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. E coli O157:H7 commonly is due to eating raw or undercooked hamburger or raw milk or dairy products.
Hepatitis B (HBV, Hep B)
The hepatitis B virus (HBV, hep B) is a unique, coated DNA virus belonging to the Hepadnaviridae family of viruses. The course of the virus is determined primarily by the age at which the infection is acquired and the interaction between the virus and the body's immune system. Successful treatment is associated with a reduction in liver injury and fibrosis (scarring), a decreased likelihood of developing cirrhosis and its complications, including liver cancer, and a prolonged survival.
Cholera is an infectious disease characterized by intense vomiting and profuse watery diarrhea and that rapidly lease to dehydration and often death. Cholera is caused by infection with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, which may be transmitted via infected fecal matter, food, or water.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
The Eustachian tube is a membrane lined tube that connects the middle ear space to the back of the nose. Symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include popping and/or clicking in the ear, and ear fullness and/or pain. Causes of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include allergies, sinus infections, ear infections, and the common cold. Treatment includes home remedies to relieve pain and several maneuvers (swallowing, chewing gum, yawning etc.), which can be done to improve Eustachian tube function. In severe cases surgery may be necessary.
Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever that causes flu-like symptoms. Ribavirin is the standard treatment for Lassa fever. Hearing loss is a common complication of Lassa fever.
Typhoid fever is an illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. The illness is contracted by ingesting the bacteria in contaminated water or food. Symptoms include headaches, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, aches and pains, and poor appetite. Treatment focuses on killing the Salmonella bacteria with antibiotics.
Bird Flu (Avian Influenza, Avian Flu)
Bird flu (avian flu, avian influenza) infection in humans may result from contact with infected poultry. There is a vaccine to prevent human infection with the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus.
Motion sickness is a feeling of unwellness caused by the inner ear and balance systems. Motion sickness can include sea sickness, car sickness, and train or plane sickness. Symptoms include, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, cold sweats, and pale skin. Treatment for motion sickness includes home remedies such as ginger, avoiding large or fatty meals prior to traveling, and OTC and prescription medications.
Travelers' diarrhea is generally contracted by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Food is the primary source of travelers' diarrhea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli is the cause of up to 70% of all cases of travelers' diarrhea. There are five unique classes of E. coli that causes gastroenteritis. Other bacteria responsible for travelers' diarrhea include Campylobacter, jejuni, shigella, and salmonella. Viruses such as rotavirus and Norwalk virus (norovirus) and giardia lamblia a parasite may cause travelers' diarrhea. Prevention is careful eating and drinking of water.
Malaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
What Is the Best Treatment for Typhoid Fever?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your typhoid fever symptoms and speed up your typhoid fever recovery.
Children's health is focused on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. There are many aspects of children's health, including growth and development, illnesses, injuries, behavior, mental illness, family health, and community health.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease of the nervous system due to damage to the myelin sheath around nerves. It is the most acquired nerve disease (neuropathy) and usually follows a virus infection but can also be associated with immunizations, surgery, and childbirth. The cause is unknown but appears to be related to autoimmune reaction. Symptoms include weakness beginning in the legs and progressing upward, lost reflexes, and in severe cases, breathing can be affected. Patients can expect a slow but progressive recovery over several months maintaining vital functions and passively exercising the muscles. Plasmapheresis (removing toxic substances from the blood) has been shown to improve outcomes and shorten the disease as well as intravenous immunoglobulin.
Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A)
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A (HAV, Hep A) is one type of liver disease caused by a virus. Since hepatitis A is a virus, it can pass from person to person from eating or drinking contaminated food or coming into contact with contaminated materials containing the virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A include stomach pain, diarrhea, dark yellow urine, jaundice, and more. There is a vaccine to prevent contracting hepatitis A.
What Is Yaws?
Yaws is an infectious disease that mainly occurs in the tropical areas of South and Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pertenue, which causes lesions that look like bumps on the skin of the feet, hands, face, and genital area. Yaws is treated with penicillin or another antibiotic.
Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are the two most commnon viruses that infect the liver. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B can be prevented and treated with immunizations (vaccinations) such as Havrix, Vaqta, Twinrix, Comvax, Pediarix, and hepatitis b immune globulin (HBIG).
Is Hepatitis B Contagious?
Hepatitis B is a type of liver infection. Hepatitis B is spread through person-to-person contact or through personal items like razors, toothbrushes, etc. Symptoms of hepatitis B include fever, yellowish skin (jaundice), dark urine, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. There is no drug to cure hepatitis B; however, there is a hepatitis B vaccine available.
Hyperthermia (Heat-Related Illness)
Heat-related illness include heat rash, cramps, exhaustion, stroke, and sunburn. Treatment of heat related illnesses depend on the condition, but symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, seizures, and coma. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and may result in death if not treated promptly. Heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke if not treated properly.
Shigellosis is a disease caused by the Shigella bacteria. Bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever are common symptoms. Mild infections usually resolve on their own. Antibiotics are used to treat more severe cases.
Candida auris (C. auris)
Candida auris (C. auris) is a yeast that is resistant to many antifungal medications. Most C. auris infections occur in hospitalized patients. C. auris causes an invasive infection and has a high mortality rate.
Melioidosis (Whitmore's disease) is an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria. Symptoms include bronchitis, pneumonia, fever, headache, loss of appetite, cough, and chest pain. Treatment involves antibiotics or surgical removal of the lung abscess in severe cases.
Guinea Worm Disease
Guinea worm disease (GWD or dracunculiasis) is an infection caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis. After a person drinks water contaminated by water fleas that harbor Guinea worm larvae, the larvae grow into adult worms (2-3 feet) in the small intestine and then migrate and emerge from the skin. Symptoms and signs include fever, swelling, and pain near the blister on the skin where the worm will emerge. As there is no medication to treat GWD and no vaccine to prevent infection, treatment focuses on minimizing pain and swelling (with the use of ibuprofen or aspirin) as the worms are slowly pulled from the wound over the course of a few days to a few months.
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Viral hemorrhagic fever(s), or VHFs are a group of illnesses caused by distinct families of viruses. Many of these viruses are life-threatening, and classified as biosafety level four (BSL-4) pathogens. Viral hemorrhagic fever viruses are caused arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses. The viruses are carried in rodents and transmitted through urine, fecal, saliva, or other body excretions from the infected rodents. Symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever include marked fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, loss of strength, fever, and exhaustion. Severely ill patients may also suffer shock coma, seizures, delirium, kidney failure, or nervous system malfunction. There is no established cure for viral hemorrhagic fever.
Is Cholera Contagious?
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. It's typically transmitted via infected fecal matter. Cholera causes frequent bouts of vomiting and watery diarrhea.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV. Symptoms include fever and shortness of breath. Patients with SARS often require oxygen and severe cases require mechanical ventilation.
Yellow fever is an infectious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Side effects are rare with the yellow fever vaccine. Symptoms include fever, chills, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms.
Cryptosporidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, fever, weight loss, dehydration, and weight loss. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of cyptosporidiosis.
Mad Cow Disease
Mad cow disease (or bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE]) is a fatal disease that attacks the central nervous system of adult cattle. Though the specific cause isn't known, it is speculated that infectious prions are the likely cause. Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease is found in people and is similar to BSE. A variation of this disease is thought to be caused by eating beef products from BSE-infected cattle.
Enterovirulent E. coli (EEC)
Enterovirulent Escherichia coli (E. coli) are strains of related bacteria that have a strong propensity to cause gastrointestinal tract infections. Examples of strains include: EHEC (enterohemorrhagic E. coli), ETEC (enterotoxigenic E. coli), EPEC (enteropathogenic E. coli), EIEC (enteroinvasive E. coli), EAEC (enteroadherent E. coli), and EAggEC (enteroaggregative E. coli). Symptoms may vary depending on the strain the individual contracts. Infection is spread generally through contaminated food or drink.
Cyclospora Infection (Cyclosporiasis)
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that causes infection when humans ingest food contaminated with feces from an infected individual. Symptoms include profuse diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, cramping, and fatigue. A 7-day course of Bactrim or Septra is the standard treatment for cyclosporiasis.
Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB)
Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) is a rare form of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) that's transmitted when TB germs are expelled into the air by sneezing, speaking, singing, or coughing.
What Is Chikungunya Virus?
Chikungunya virus is an infection spread (transmitted) through a bite from an infected mosquito. Common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection include joint pain, headache, rash, and fever. There is no drug or vaccine available to treat or prevent Chikungunya virus infections. Some medicines and home remedies may help relieve symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection.
What Causes Typhoid Fever?
Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial infection. Learn more about typhoid fever, its symptoms, your treatment options, and possible complications.
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a degenerative, fatal brain disorder in humans. Symptoms are initially psychiatric or sensory and include neurological abnormalities such as ataxia, dementia, and myoclonus. There is no known treatment for vCJD.
Local ResourcesFind a local Family Physician in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Tamiflu for Bird Flu?
- Travel: 7 Tips to Stressless Vacation Travel
- Travel Medicine Kit
- Travel: Flying with the Greatest of Ease
- What Is a Hospitalist?
- West Nile Fever ... in New York?
- SARS Update to Date
- SARS Virus Identified
- Monkeys Confirm SARS
- SARS to Stop, or Here to Stay?
- Travelers to Mexico - Health Warning
- West Nile: Halting West Nile By Transfusion
- Leishmania Infections in US Military
- SARS Transmitted on Airplane
- US Bans Civet Imports to Stop SARS Spread
- SARS Epidemic in Perspective
- Early Malaria Vaccine Tests
- 9 Tips to Prevent Travelers' Diarrhea
- First Aid Fast Facts
- E. Coli in New Orleans Flood Waters
- Do You Need Vaccinations Before Traveling Abroad?
- Do Mosquitoes Prefer Pregnant Women?
- Is It Safe to Travel to Malaria Risk Areas During Pregnancy?
- What Are Side Effects of Antimalarial Drugs While Breastfeeding?
- Should I Worry About Rabies When I Travel Outside the U.S.?
- How Long Before You Travel Should You Have Rabies Vaccination?
- What Is in The Typhoid Vaccine?
- West Nile Virus Infection Symptoms and Risk Factors
- 6 Tips if You Need Healthcare When Traveling
- When to Call the Doctor for Fever, Nausea, Diarrhea, Colds, and Coughs
- High Altitude Sickness Symptoms
- Motion Sickness: 10 Prevention Tips
- Y2K Travel Health Alert
Medications & Supplements
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) Antibiotic
- azithromycin (Zithromax): For COVID-19
- doxycycline (Vibramycin, Doryx)
- Hypnotics (for Sleep)
- loperamide (Imodium)
- attapulgite (Kaopectate)
- diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil)
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate)
- pyrimethamine (Daraprim)
- EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector)
- scopolamine, Transderm-Scop
- Primsol (trimethoprim)
- rifaximin (Xifaxan)
- Aralen (chloroquine)
- zolpidem (Ambien)
- Dengvaxia (dengue tetravalent vaccine, live)
- What Vaccines Are Given in Childhood?
Prevention & Wellness
- Traveling Overseas? Follow This Health Checklist
- Most Older Adults Plan to Travel Soon, With Precautions: Poll
- How Your Medicines Make Their Way Into Rivers, Lakes and Bays
- U.S. to Stick With International Travel Restrictions
- Got Wanderlust? Travel Makes Folks Happier, Study Shows
- U.S. Cancels Blanket Warning for International Travel
- Want to Travel During the Pandemic? Here's What to Consider
- U.S. Extends Bans on Foreign Travel; Trump's Coronavirus Test Comes Back Negative
- Trump Bans Travel From Most of Europe as WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic
- Tough Travel Bans Only 'Modestly' Slow Coronavirus Spread: Study
- Should You Cancel Travel Plans Due to Coronavirus? Take This Quiz
- As Coronavirus Spreads, Should Travel History Be in Your Medical Records?
- Health Tip: Planning a Stress-Reducing Vacation
- Health Tip: Travelling to a High Altitude
- Traveling Abroad? Make Sure Your Measles Shot Is Up to Date
- Heading to Europe This Summer? Get Your Measles Shot
- AHA News: Need a Break? A Vacation Really Can Be Good for You If It's Done Right
- Health Tip: Traveling by Air
- Health Tip: Travel-Related Ills May Surface After You Return
- Smart Steps for Safer International Travel
- Health Tip: Controlling Altitude-Related Ear Pain
- Timely Tips for Sick-Free Travel
- Pack Wisely for a Healthy Trip
- Health Tip: Travel Safely With a Child
- Health Tip: Are You Well Enough to Travel?
- Tips for Traveling to the U.S. With Medications
- Airport Screenings Miss Roughly Half of Sick Travelers: Study
- Cruise Ship Passenger Linked to Ebola Back on Shore
- U.S. Preparing Tighter Infection Controls for Ebola Patients: Report
- Health Highlights: June 21, 2012
- Progress Made on Vaccine for So-Called ‘Cruise Ship' Virus
- Weight Gain, Need to Be Nice Are Holiday Season Gripes
- Gulf Oil Spill's Toll on Nation's Beaches
- Happy, Healthy, Valentine!
- Pool Safety: Tips for a Safe Summer for Children
- Hand Washing: Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations
- Travel: Planes, Trains, and Germs
- Travel: Is Water on Planes Safe?
- Are You a Mosquito Magnet?
- West Nile Virus: Test for Diagnosis
- Hazardous to Your Health
- Dengue Fever Outbreaks
- Monkeypox Outbreak Alert
- SARS: Bogus SARS Prevention Products: Buyer Beware
- Jet Lag
Digestive Disorders Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter