Levels of risk
Conditions in other countries may be different from those in Canada and may affect the health of Canadian travellers. For example:
- standards of hygiene and sanitation may be different;
- safe food and clean water may be unavailable; or
- climate or environmental conditions may support certain diseases that do not (or rarely) occur in Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) actively seeks to identify and evaluate information about new, unusual or rapidly evolving health risks. When necessary, PHAC releases Travel Health Notices outlining the potential risks to Canadian travellers and to the Canadian public, and recommends measures that can be taken to help reduce these risks.
There are four levels of risk:
Level 1 Travel Health Notices advise practising usual travel health precautions. For example, notices at this level may remind travellers about routine vaccinations, highlight the importance of hand washing, or recommend protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.
Level 2 Travel Health Notices recommend that travellers practise special health precautions, such as receiving additional vaccinations. A notice at this level would be issued if there is an outbreak in a limited geographic location, a newly identified disease in the region or a change in the existing pattern of disease.
Level 3 Travel Health Notices include a warning to avoid non-essential travel in order to protect the health of Canadian travellers and the Canadian public. The notice outlines specific precautions to take when visiting the region and what to do if you become ill during or after travel. A notice at this level would be issued during a large-scale outbreak in a large geographic area, or if there is increased risk to the traveller and an increased risk of spreading disease to other groups including the Canadian public.
Level 4 advises travellers to avoid all travel in order to protect the health of the Canadian public. A notice at this level would be issued if there is a high risk of spread of disease to the general public regardless of measures taken while travelling. Avoiding travel will limit the spread of the disease in Canada and internationally.