Health Requirements for Travelers


Diseases can be spread form one country to another by travelers. In order to combat this problem, certain international requirements have been established. These ensure that a person traveling from one country to another does not bring with him the germs of a disease which could spread in the host country.

The usual health requirements for international travel take the form of Certificates of Vaccination against certain specific diseases.

The actual requirements vary from country to country. At one time vaccination against smallpox was essential for almost all international travelers. Smallpox, however, has now been eradicated thanks to the vaccination programmes co-ordinated by the World Health Organization. Because of this, few countries now insist on the certificate of vaccination against smallpox.

Cholera, like smallpox, is a disease which can spread at great speed and kill thousands of people in a short space of time. Some countries therefore insist that visitors be vaccinated against the disease before they set foot on the territory. However, the anti-cholera vaccine is effective for only a short time- from 6 weeks to 6 months.

Contagious diseases like Ebola which at some time was rampant in Uganda can lead to setting up of a quarantine order. This is whereby people in the place where there is a contagious disease are restricted from travelling to other places to avoid spread of the disease. Ebola is a disease which is air-borne and can kill several numbers of people within a matter of minutes. It is essential that people who are suspected to have this disease are put in a separate place from the healthy ones.

These days the essential requirement for international travel is a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever. Yellow fever is a killer disease. It is spread by mosquitoes. A mosquito which bites an infected person and takes in his blood will take in the viruses which cause the disease at the same time. The mosquito can then transmit the disease when it bites another person. Vaccination ensures that the viruses do survive in the bloodstream.

Before you make any international journey you should inquire at the embassy of the host country or countries to find out exactly what certificates you need. You should then see your doctor to get the required immunizations and then obtain your certificates from the appropriate public health authorities. You present these certificates from the appropriate public health authorities. You present these certificates on arrival at your destination together with your passport.


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