The information on these pages should be used to research health risks and to inform the pre-travel consultation.
Due to COVID-19, travel advice is subject to rapid change. Countries may change entry requirements and close their borders at very short notice. Travellers must ensure they check current Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice in addition to the FCDO specific country page (where available) which provides additional information on travel restrictions and entry requirements in addition to safety and security advice.
Travellers should ideally arrange an appointment with their health professional at least four to six weeks before travel. However, even if time is short, an appointment is still worthwhile. This appointment provides an opportunity to assess health risks taking into account a number of factors including destination, medical history, and planned activities. For those with pre-existing health problems, an earlier appointment is recommended.
All travellers should ensure they have adequate travel health insurance.
If visiting European Union (EU) countries, carry an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) as this will allow access to state-provided healthcare in some countries at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. The EHIC or GHIC, however, is not an alternative to travel insurance. Check the GOV.UK website for guidance.
A list of useful resources including advice on how to reduce the risk of certain health problems is available below.
Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.
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. See the individual chapters of the 'Green Book' Immunisation against infectious disease for further details.
There are no certificate requirements under International Health Regulations.
The vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country. Information on these vaccines can be found by clicking on the blue arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.
Tetanus is caused by a toxin released from Clostridium tetani bacteria 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 medical attention for injuries such as animal bites/scratches, burns or wounds contaminated with soil.
- Travellers should have completed a tetanus vaccination course according to the UK schedule.
- If travelling to a country or area 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.
Country-specific information on medical facilities may be found in the 'health' section of the FCDO foreign travel advice pages.
The vaccines in this section are recommended for some travellers visiting this country. Information on when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.
Rabies (Bat Lyssavirus)
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 Italy
Bat rabies has been reported in this country; most travellers are considered to be at low risk. However, bats may carry bat lyssavirus (bat rabies).
- Travellers should avoid contact with bats. Bites from bats are frequently unrecognised. Rabies-like disease caused by bat lyssaviruses is preventable with prompt post-exposure rabies management.
- Following a possible exposure, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and an urgent local medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial. Although rabies has not been reported in other animals in this country, it is sensible to seek prompt medical advice if bitten or scratched. It is possible, although very rare for bats to pass rabies like viruses to other animals including pets.
- Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
- 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.
- Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are recommended for those who are at increased risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus and those working with bats).
- Pre-exposure vaccines could be considered for those whose activities put them at increased risk of exposure to bats.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection spread by the bite of infected ticks. Occasionally cases of TBE occur after consumption of raw (unpasteurised) milk or dairy products from infected animals (e.g. cows, goats and sheep).
Travellers are at increased risk of exposure during outdoor activities in areas of vegetation such as gardens, parks, meadows, woods, forest fringes and glades. This includes urban parks and woodland areas in cities. Ticks are usually most active between early spring and late autumn.
Tick-borne encephalitis in Italy
There is a risk of TBE in some areas of this country. The transmission season varies, however, ticks are most active during early spring to late autumn.
Cases have been reported in Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Puglia, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto.
All travellers should avoid tick bites during outdoor activities, apply insect repellent frequently and follow tick bite avoidance advice.
Travellers should check their skin and clothes regularly for ticks and remove them as soon as possible with a recommended technique. Wearing light coloured clothes makes it easier to spot ticks.
Travellers should not eat or drink any unpasteurised milk products.
Tick-borne encephalitis vaccination
Vaccination is recommended for those visiting affected areas whose activities put them at increased risk including:
- living in TBE risk areas.
- working in forestry, woodcutting, farming and the military.
- visiting forested areas and urban parks, e.g. camping, fieldwork, hiking and hunting.
- laboratory workers who may be exposed to TBE.
There are some risks that are relevant to all travellers regardless of destination. These may for example include road traffic and other accidents, diseases transmitted by insects or ticks, diseases transmitted by contaminated food and water, sexually transmitted infections, or health issues related to the heat or cold.
Some additional risks (which may be present in all or part of this country) are mentioned below and are presented alphabetically. Select risk to expand information.
There is a risk of altitude illness when travelling to destinations of 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) or higher. Important risk factors are the altitude gained, rate of ascent and sleeping altitude. Rapid ascent without a period of acclimatisation puts a traveller at higher risk.
There are three syndromes; acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE). HACE and HAPE require immediate descent and medical treatment.
Altitude illness in Italy
There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres.
- Travellers should spend a few days at an altitude below 3,000m.
- Where possible travellers should avoid travel from altitudes less than 1,200m to altitudes greater than 3,500m in a single day.
- Ascent above 3,000m should be gradual. Travellers should avoid increasing sleeping elevation by more than 500m per day and ensure a rest day (at the same altitude) every three or four days.
- Acetazolamide can be used to assist with acclimatisation, but should not replace gradual ascent.
- Travellers who develop symptoms of AMS (headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and sleep disturbance) should avoid further ascent. In the absence of improvement or with progression of symptoms the first response should be to descend.
- Development of HACE or HAPE symptoms requires immediate descent and emergency medical treatment.
Biting insects or ticks
Insect or tick bites can cause irritation and infections of the skin at the site of a bite. They can also spread certain diseases.
Diseases in Southern Europe
- All travellers should avoid insect and tick bites day and night.
- There are no vaccinations (or medications) to prevent these diseases.
Further information about specific insect or tick-borne diseases for this country can be found, if appropriate on this page, in other sections of the country information pages and the insect and tick bite avoidance factsheet.
Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes which mainly feed during daytime hours. It causes a flu-like illness, which can occasionally develop into a more serious life-threatening illness. Severe dengue is rare in travellers.
The mosquitoes that spread dengue are more common in towns, cities and surrounding areas.
Dengue has been reported in the Lombardy and Lazio Regions.
Dengue in Italy
- Travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly during daytime hours.
- A dengue vaccine is licensed in the UK for the prevention of dengue disease in individuals from 4 years of age. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and World Health Organization are in the process of reviewing the product information. Recommendations on the use of this vaccine will be published in due course.
Seasonal influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and spreads easily from person to person via respiratory droplets when coughing and sneezing. Symptoms appear rapidly and include fever, muscle aches, headache, malaise (feeling unwell), cough, sore throat and a runny nose. In healthy individuals, symptoms improve without treatment within two to seven days. Severe illness is more common in those aged 65 years or over, those under 2 years of age, or those who have underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for complications of influenza.
Seasonal influenza in Italy
Seasonal influenza occurs throughout the world. In the northern hemisphere (including the UK), most influenza occurs from as early as October through to March. In the southern hemisphere, influenza mostly occurs between April and September. In the tropics, influenza can occur throughout the year.
All travellers should:
- Avoid close contact with symptomatic individuals
- Avoid crowded conditions where possible
- Wash their hands frequently
- Practise ‘cough hygiene’: sneezing or coughing into a tissue and promptly discarding it safely, and washing their hands
- Avoid travel if unwell with influenza-like symptoms
- A vaccine is available in certain circumstances (see below)*
*In the UK, seasonal influenza vaccine is offered routinely each year to those at higher risk of developing of severe disease following influenza infection, and certain additional groups such as healthcare workers and children as part of the UK national schedule (see information on vaccination). For those who do not fall into these groups, vaccination may be available privately.
If individuals at higher risk of severe disease following influenza infection are travelling to a country when influenza is likely to be circulating they should ensure they received a flu vaccination in the previous 12 months.
The vaccine used in the UK protects against the strains predicted to occur during the winter months of the northern hemisphere. It is not possible to obtain vaccine for the southern hemisphere in the UK, but the vaccine used during the UK influenza season should still provide important protection against strains likely to occur during the southern hemisphere influenza season, and in the tropics.
Avian influenza viruses can rarely infect and cause disease in humans. Such cases are usually associated with close exposure to infected bird or animal populations. Where appropriate, information on these will be available in the outbreaks and news sections of the relevant country pages. Seasonal influenza vaccines will not provide protection against avian influenza.
Outdoor air quality
Poor air quality is a significant public health problem in many parts of the world. Exposure to high levels of air pollution over short time periods (e.g. minutes/hours/days) and longer time periods (e.g. years) is linked to many different acute and chronic health problems. These effects are mainly on the respiratory (lungs and airways) and cardiovascular (heart function and blood circulation) systems.
Current information on world air quality is available from the world air quality index project.
Travellers with health problems that might make them more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution who are travelling to areas of high pollution should:
- discuss their travel plans with their doctor, and carry adequate supplies of their regular medication.
- take sensible precautions to minimise their exposure to high levels of air pollution.
- check local air quality data and amend their activities accordingly.
- take notice of any health advisories published by the local Ministry of Health and Department for Environment, and follow the guidance provided.
It is unclear if face masks are beneficial at reducing exposure and may make breathing more difficult for those with pre-existing lung conditions. Those who choose to use one should make sure that the mask fits well and know how to wear it properly.
COVID-19 disease is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV2. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough, a high temperature, and a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell. Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. Older people and those with underlying health problems are more likely to develop severe disease.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with people who have the virus. It is mainly transmitted from person to person by breathing in droplets produced when someone infected with the virus breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes. It is also spread by touching the infected droplets on surfaces, then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe illness, hospitalisation, or dying from the virus. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces, but does not eliminate the risk of infection, so social distancing and personal and respiratory hygiene remain important interventions, particularly during overseas travel.
Travellers should always check the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and their country-specific pages for the latest COVID-19 travel advisories which may include information on travel restrictions, quarantine, COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements. This includes considering the recommendations and requirements for any transit countries.
Travellers should be aware that COVID-19 case numbers in individual countries/areas can increase rapidly, and healthcare capacity and country requirements can change at short notice.
COVID-19 in Italy
Most countries worldwide present a risk of exposure to COVID-19. The risk of COVID-19, public health policy, and travel advice or restrictions may change quickly, therefore travellers should ensure they have access to up to date information on COVID-19 and be prepared for rapid changes in guidance both before and during travel.
All travellers should check the FCDO travel advice and carefully consider their personal situation and risks of COVID-19 before travel to this country. This is particularly important in those at higher risk from COVID-19 who may wish to seek medical advice before travel.
Individuals entering or returning to the UK may be required to follow additional UK border measures.
If travelling to this country, travellers should:
- Consider the risk at all destinations including any transit countries, and the risk during travel itself.
- Check with the airline/tour operator about preventive measures in place to reduce risk during travel.
- Follow the latest guidance on social distancing and face coverings, including any local requirements and maintain good hand, respiratory, and personal hygiene at all times. This may be particularly important if staying with friends and family.
- Ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK vaccination programme.
If travellers develop COVID-19 symptoms while abroad, they should:
- Follow local guidelines on self-isolation, testing and avoiding travel.
- Contact their travel insurance provider.
- Seek medical advice if needed.
NaTHNaC has reviewed and updated country-specific tick-borne encephalitis information and vaccine recommendations
Using information collated from a variety of sources, we regularly review and update information on overseas disease outbreaks and other health issues that may affect the UK traveller.
Please note that not all cases of disease or outbreaks are reported; some diseases may only be reported if they occur outside of the usual recognised risk area or season, or they have been reported in greater than usual numbers.
Further information on the Outbreak Surveillance section.