Diphtheria, Tetanus & Polio



Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease affecting the nose, throat and in rare cases the skin, causing fever, sore throat and breathing difficulties. It is spread from person to person by the exhalation of water droplets e.g. coughing and sneezing.

Diphtheria can cause respiratory failure, heart failure or a build-up of toxins in the nervous system which can be fatal in up to 10% of cases.


You should be vaccinated if you are travelling to Russia, most of the Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of South East Asia and South America.



Tetanus is a bacterial infection affecting your muscles, causing stiffness, muscle spasms, difficulty in swallowing and lockjaw. It is usually acquired by cuts and grazes coming into contact with soil and animal faeces.


Other symptoms of tetanus include:

  • abnormal heart rate and blood pressure
  • arching of the back and neck
  • inability to pass urine


In severe cases, tetanus can be fatal. 

You should be vaccinated if you are travelling to any area outside of Western Europe, North America and Australasia.



Polio is a disease affecting the central nervous system which is spread from person-to person through the contact of contaminated water and food and also through airborne particles.


Symptoms of polio include nausea, headache and abdominal pain and in rare cases paralysis. The virus may also affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs and the muscles necessary for breathing causing breathing difficulties. It is occasionally fatal.


You should be vaccinated if you are travelling to African, South East Asian and eastern Mediterranean regions.



Mayfair Doctors

37 North Audley Street

Mayfair | London | W1k 6ZL

Tel: 0207 499 1581

We are open 6 days a week

Mon-Fri: 9:30am to 5:00pm

Saturday: 10am to 4:30pm

Sunday: Closed

Times may vary due to the current situation. Please call us to confirm.

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