Getting vaccinated

What you should know


What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infection due to a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A tuberculosis vaccination is required to prevent or offset the likelihood of contraction.The symptoms includes fever, night sweats, lethargy, cough with blood stained sputum and weight loss. Sometimes, it causes no symptoms and can only be detected by investigation like chest x-ray. To become infected, one would have to spend a long time in a closed environment where the air was contaminated by an infected person who is coughing out the bacteria.

Tuberculosis is global epidemic disease, with one third of the world’s population being infected at some stage, mostly in the developing world. However, with protection in the form of a tuberculosis vaccination, it is not a major hazard for short term travellers.

Speak with a doctor about your eligibility for the tb vaccine prior to departure.


Maintaining good general health and avoiding prolonged contacts with infected people are the most effective measures to prevent Tuberculosis.

The BCG Vaccine, though not 100% effective, is recommended for children under the age of 5 years who will be living in a high prevalence area for a long period of time, or health workers intending to work in high risk countries for prolonged periods. The vaccination can only be given by government recognised centres.

A special skin test (Tuberculin test) needs to be performed before the vaccination. People with positive skin test, past history of Tuberculosis, pregnancy, and generalised skin disease can not have the BCG vaccination.

The vaccine is a single injection given at least three months before travel, and can last up to 10 years.

Alternatively, travellers to highly prevalent areas can have a skin test before and 1 month after return to see whether the person has been infected. If skin test is positive, further tests or treatment can be initiated before symptoms appear.

*This information is to be used as a guide only. Medical advice is recommended to individuals depending on their medical history, previous vaccination history and their itinerary.