Many travellers think that preparation for a healthy trip just involves vaccinations. In reality, the vaccine preventable diseases are a much less frequent cause of ill health than diseases we cannot vaccinate against such as diarrhoea, skin problems, malaria and dengue. Similarly, deaths during travel are most commonly the result of heart attacks or accidents, not vaccine preventable diseases.
A recently updated graph of vaccine preventable diseases still puts influenza at the top of the list for vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers (1 in 100). It is particularly sensible for those travelling in groups, on cruise ships and the elderly to have one before travel. Animal bites with a risk of rabies (3 in 1,000) are next then typhoid in South Asia (2 in 10,000) followed by hepatitis A (1 in 10,000). Tick borne encephalitis, measles and hepatitis B are the next occurring in 3 or more per 100,000 travellers to risk areas. While the risk of yellow fever has traditionally been low in travellers this has changed with around 30 cases seen in the past 2 years during outbreaks in Angola and Brazil.