Travel Clinic / Travel-Related Illnesses / Illnesses from Physical Contact

Illnesses from Physical Contact

The Vanderbilt Travel Clinic is offering the Yellow Fever vaccine and will continue to carry this vaccine through 2019.
In addition, we are now offering the cholera vaccine.

Several illnesses may be transmited from person to person contact or animal to person contact. All travelers should be aware of these potential threats in the areas in which they are visiting.  These illnesses include such as:



There are several types of influenza viruses.  Some cause repiratory flu symptoms and others cause stomach flu symptoms.  The best way to protect yourself from either of these viruses is to wash your hands frequently, boost your immune system before and during your trip by taking Vitamin C, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer before eating, and keep a good distance from those people who are coughing and sneezing.

Respiratory Flu symptoms:
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose and/or congestion
  • Tiredness
 Stomach Flu symptoms:
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea
  • mild fever
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches

Proper vaccination is available to protect you against the flu. 
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Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a virus that is transmitted through blood and blood products. This can be transmitted through tattooing, piercing, sexual contact, blood transfusions, wound contamination, dental procedures, and surgical procedures. The Hepatitis B vaccine can protect you from this disease.

Hepatitis B symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/ vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in urine and stool colors

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There are two types of Meningitis, viral and bacterial.  Viral meningitis is typically spread through person to person contact.  It is a serious virus, however, people who have a healthy immune system typically recovery from this illness in 1 to 2 weeks. 
Bacterial Meningitis is passed between people via respiratory secretions (i.e. coughing, sneezing, sharing utensils, etc.) This can be a fatal disease.  One should see a doctor immediately if they display any of the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Stiff Neck
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion and/or seizures

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Rabies is transmitted through animal saliva, a bite, scratch or even a lick. Rabies is treatable if prompt treatment is started, preferably within 72 hours. Dogs and bats are the largest carrier groups in the world. Most countries do not mandate animal vaccine programs therefore domestic animals may not be vaccinated. All animal bites should be taken seriously. Scrub the area with soap and water right away and seek treatment within 72 hours if the animal is suspected of having rabies.
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Tetanus is found worldwide in dust and soil. The organism can infect a wound or damaged tissues. Vaccination against tetanus is a routine vaccine in the US. All travelers should have an updated tetanus booster every 10 years.
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated air supply. The air supply usually becomes contaminated when an infected person coughs continuously in a  closed environment.  The Vanderbilt Travel Clinic recommends a routine TB skin test 6 months after returning from your trip.

TB Symptoms:

  • Coughing  - typically produces a thick, cloudy, and sometimes bloody mucus lasting more than 2 week
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Shortness of breath

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