There have been a number of outbreaks of diseases in recent years that have had the ability to become pandemics, SARS, bird-flu and Ebola to name but three. So this is the next element of safety that I’ll consider.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) monitors these outbreaks and produces advice at the highest level as to the threat to human health. The threat that has hit the world headlines in the last year has been the outbreak of ebola in West Africa, centered on Sierra Leone.
If you have any doubts on any health issues then WHO should be your first asset to check. But, like the advice given out by the FCO, don’t just read the advice but consider it in relation to where you are going and what you are going to be doing. Stories abound of tourist from Europe refusing to disembark from their cruise liner in Cape Town because of Ebola, but happily going home to a place far closer to Sierre Leone than Cape Town – Africa is a continent not a country.
For lower level health advice, travellers should consult their local surgery, or a specialist such as MASTA, for up to date health and inoculation requirements.
There are usually some standard inoculations that you should have up to date in any respect such as tetanus and polio and there will then be some others that will either be mandatory such as Yellow Fever or recommended such as Malaria. Look at your itinerary, consider where you are staying and for how long and then decide, in conjunction with your medial specialist, which inoculations are right for you. Age plays a part in this process.