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Communicable diseases can be directly spread from one person (or animal) to another. Communicable diseases include norovirus, STIs or the flu. 

If you are traveling to another country, speak with your healthcare provider to determine if you will need to take special precautions against communicable diseases. 

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Some communicable diseases can be prevented through vaccination. If traveling to other countries, your health care provider may recommend you receive certain vaccines based on the common communicable diseases in another country. 

 Colds, Flu and COVID-19

The common cold, influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help viruses but if you develop an infection, such as pneumonia, you may need antibiotics to treat the infection.  Many colds can be treated with over-the-counter medication, rest, and hydration. If you think you have the flu or COVID-19, consider seeing your doctor so you can start antivirals. Antivirals typically need to be taken within 72 hours of symptom onset and can help lessen the symptoms. If you have a cold, flu or COVID-19, stay home and take precautions to avoid spreading the illness to others. 

Common Cold

Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness can spread from direct person-to-person and through contact with objects. Some foodborne illnesses require antibiotics to treat, and you may need to be hospitalized for severe illness. However, foodborne illnesses can sometimes be treated at home. If treating a foodborne illness at home, be alert for dehydration and go to the hospital if you are becoming dehydrated. Young children and seniors are most at risk for dehydration. Foodborne illnesses are extremely contagious, so please stay home while you are sick. 


More information about foodborne illnesses from the CDC

Fungal Infection

Although most fungi are harmless, some can cause illness. Some infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications while many require prescription treatment or hospitalization.  People with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of getting a fungal infection. 

Learn more about candidiasis (yeast infections and thrush)

More information about fungal disease from CDC


HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be spread through sexual contact. You can also be exposed to HIV and some STIs through blood, sharing needles or from mother to baby during birth. Some STIs can be cured while others cannot. Although HIV cannot be cured, there are treatments available to manage symptoms and avoid spreading HIV to others. You should always contact your healthcare provider if you suspect you have been exposed to any STI. Abstinence or using condoms are the best ways to prevent the spread of HIV and STIs. 

Sexually Transmitted Infections


Hepatitis is caused by a virus. Some strains of hepatitis can be prevented by a vaccine while others cannot. Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver failure and liver cancer. Hepatitis may not cause symptoms at first and getting testing might be the only way to know if you have hepatitis. Some hepatitis viruses will go away without treatment or can be treated easily. Vaccination for hepatitis A and hepatitis B provide strong protection against those viruses. Hepatitis C, D and E do not have a vaccine that can prevent against those viruses. 

Learn more about hepatitis


Most children will have RSV before their 2nd birthday. Older kids and adults can also get RSV but children make up the majority of RSV cases.  Many RSV infections resolve on their own and can be treated at home. Hospitalization may be required for severe illness. RSV is very contagious. Keep your child home from school and daycare until they are feeling better. 


Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is common in many parts of the world. There is a vaccine for TB but it is not often used in the United States. TB cases do happen in the United States but they are relatively rare. The TB vaccine is given to infants and young children in counties where TB is more common. TB is spread through the air, such as being close to someone infected when they are coughing, sneezing or singing.  If you will be traveling out of the country, speak with your healthcare provider about any precautions you should take for TB or if you should be tested upon return.  TB can be treated, and it can take up to 12 months of treatment. 

Learn more about TB from the CDC


Zoonotic diseases are spread from an animal to a human. If you are traveling out of the country speak with your healthcare provider about precautions you should take while traveling to protect against zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases can be spread through direct contact such as the body fluids of an infected animal; indirect contact such as chicken coops; vector-borne such as mosquitos; foodborne such as undercooked meat or waterborne through contact with contaminated water. 

West Nile Virus

Learn more about zoonotic diseases from the CDC