General health in Russia is of a European standard and no specific precautions or vaccinations are required. However, you should make sure all your standard vaccinations are up-to-date, including diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, influenza, polio, and tetanus. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside the city, you should get the encephalitis vaccine, as ticks are a common problem.
You should never drink tap water in Moscow or any other part of Russia. It is not safe to drink and may cause, among many other problems, Giardiasis, a severe stomach parasite infection (especially common in St. Petersburg.) Many Muscovites will not drink tap water even after boiling it; it’s best to follow suit and use bottled water, which is easily available, for drinking water, tea, coffee, and soups.
The rapid spread of HIV is a serious problem in Russia, and, as in all countries, you should take precautions against this and all other sexually transmitted diseases.
Tuberculosis, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, is a growing concern. However, infection does not spread easily if you’re not living with someone carrying it – meaning you would have to spend a long time in a closed environment with an infected person to be at risk. The best precaution against tuberculosis is to avoid long-term and repeated exposure to high-risk areas such as prisons, homeless shelters, or poorly equipped hospitals. If you are especially concerned because your work requires you to spend time with high-risk populations, or because you have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor about routine skin test screening.
Testing and Medical Certificates
For work permits and other common processes, such as getting a driving licenses or moving into a university dormitory, you will be required to obtain medical certificates proving you are free of any number of common and uncommon diseases ranging from TB (chest x-ray required) to leprosy. These certificates are usually cheapest and easiest to obtain by undergoing the tests at a public clinic in Moscow, but can also be obtained at private clinics. You should not try to get them in your home country, because they will probably not be accepted by the government authority in question (except for the HIV certificate for visas).