Many different divisions and departments of the Health Protection Agency collect data about diseases that may be acquired abroad. The Travel and Migrant Health Section (TMHS) collates and analyses data on travel-associated infections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the latest data available are summarised below. Historical data are available on the Epidemiological Reports page.
Gastrointestinal infections are transmitted by ingesting food and water contaminated with bacteria, protozoa, or parasitic helminths. The most common gastrointestinal infections reported in travellers are Salmonella spp.
Arthropod borne infections
Arthropod borne infections are transmitted by both insects (such as mosquitoes, sand flies, tsetse flies) and arachnids (ticks and mites) and are caused by bacteria, viruses, or protozoal parasites. The most common arthropod borne infection reported in travellers is malaria.
Respiratory and vaccine-preventable infections
These types of infections (e.g. Legionnaires' disease, meningococcal disease, measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, influenza) are often difficult to attribute to foreign travel as many occur in the UK as well as abroad. Ascertainment of unusual serotypes of these infections is often the easiest way to determine if an infection has been acquired abroad.
Other infections of importance to travellers, but which do not fit into the specific categories above, include rabies, schistosomiasis, leptospirosis, and certain viral haemorrhagic fevers.