General information

See also:

The information on these pages should be used to research health risks and to inform the pre-travel consultation. For advice regarding safety and security please check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

Travellers should ideally arrange an appointment with their health professional at least four to six weeks before travel. However, even if time is short, an appointment is still worthwhile. This appointment provides an opportunity to assess health risks taking into account a number of factors including destination, medical history, and planned activities. For those with pre-existing health problems, an earlier appointment is recommended.

While most travellers have a healthy and safe trip, there are some risks that are relevant to travellers regardless of destination. These may for example include road traffic and other accidents, diseases transmitted by insects or ticks, diseases transmitted by contaminated food and water, sexually transmitted infections, or health issues related to the heat or cold.

All travellers should ensure they have adequate travel health insurance.

A list of useful resources including advice on how to reduce the risk of certain health problems is available below.

Resources

Vaccine recommendations

Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.

All Travellers

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.  These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine.

Those who may be at increased risk of an infectious disease due to their work, lifestyle choice, or certain underlying health problems should be up to date with additional recommended vaccines. See the individual chapters of the ‘Green Book’ Immunisation against infectious disease for further details.

Certificate Requirements

Please read the information below carefully, as certificate requirements may be relevant to certain travellers only. For travellers further details, if required, should be sought from their healthcare professional.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in Australia, however, there is a certificate requirement.
  • Under International Health Regulations, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission (except Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the island of Tobago, limited to Misiones Province in Argentina) and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission (with the same exceptions as mentioned above).
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO), from 11 July 2016 (for all countries), the yellow fever certificate will be valid for the duration of the life of the person vaccinated.  As a consequence, a valid certificate, presented by arriving travellers, cannot be rejected on the grounds that more than ten years have passed since the date vaccination became effective as stated on the certificate; and that boosters or revaccination cannot be required. See WHO Q&A.
  • View the WHO list of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Most Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country. Information on these vaccines can be found by clicking on the blue arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a toxin released from Clostridium tetani and occurs worldwide.  Tetanus bacteria are present in soil and manure and may be introduced through open wounds such as a puncture wound, burn or scratch.

Prevention

Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek appropriate medical attention.

Tetanus vaccination
  • Travellers should have completed a primary vaccination course according to the UK schedule.
  • If travelling to a country where medical facilities may be limited, a booster dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine is recommended if the last dose was more than ten years ago even if five doses of vaccine have been given previously.

Country specific information on medical facilities may be found in the ‘health’ section of the FCO foreign travel advice website.

Tetanus in brief

Some Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for some travellers visiting this country. Information on when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection; it is transmitted by exposure to infected blood or body fluids. This mostly occurs during sexual contact or as a result of blood-to-blood contact (for example from contaminated equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing or body piercing procedures, and sharing of intravenous needles).   Mothers with the virus can also transmit the infection to their baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis B in Australia

2% or more of the population are known or thought to be persistently infected with the hepatitis B virus (intermediate/high prevalence).

Prevention

Travellers should avoid contact with blood or body fluids. This includes:

  • avoiding unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • avoiding tattooing, piercing, public shaving, and acupuncture (unless sterile equipment is used).
  • not sharing needles or other injection equipment.
  • following universal precautions if working in a medical/dental/high risk setting.

A sterile medical equipment kit may be helpful when travelling to resource poor areas.

Hepatitis B vaccination

Vaccination could be considered for all travellers, and is recommended for those whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk including:

  • those who may have unprotected sex.
  • those who may be exposed to contaminated needles through injecting drug use.
  • those who may be exposed to blood or body fluids through their work (e.g. health workers).
  • those who may be exposed to contaminated needles as a result of having medical or dental care e.g. those with pre-existing medical conditions and those travelling for medical care abroad including those intending to receive renal dialysis overseas.
  • long-stay travellers
  • those who are participating in contact sports.
  • families adopting children from this country.

Hepatitis B in brief

Japanese Encepahalitis (JE)

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a viral infection transmitted to humans from animals (mainly pigs and birds) by mosquitoes which typically breed in rice paddy fields, swamps and marshes.  These mosquitoes predominantly feed between dusk and dawn.

Those at increased risk include travellers who are staying for a month or longer during the transmission season, especially if travel will include rural areas with rice fields and marshland.

Travellers on shorter trips (typically less than a month) and those who restrict their visits to urban areas are usually considered to be at very low risk.

Japanese encephalitis in Australia

Japanese encephalitis occurs in limited areas of this country with year-round transmission. The affected areas are the Islands of Torres Strait and the Cape York Peninsula (in the north east of Australia).

Prevention

All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dusk and dawn.

Japanese encephalitis vaccination
  • Vaccination is recommended for those whose activities put them at increased risk (see above).
  • Vaccination could be considered for those on shorter trips if the risk is considered to be sufficient e.g. those spending time in areas where the mosquito breeds such as rice fields or marshlands, or pig farming areas.

Japanese encephalitis in brief

Rabies (Bat Lyssavirus)

Although rare, bat lyssaviruses (bat rabies) can be transmitted to humans or other animals following contact with the saliva of an infected bat most often by a bite. The disease can also be transmitted if the saliva of an infected bat gets into open wounds or mucous membranes (such as on the eye, nose or mouth). Bat lyssaviruses can cause disease in humans that is indistinguishable from rabies.

Symptoms can take some time to develop, but when they do the condition is almost always fatal.

The risk to most travellers is low. However, it is increased for certain occupations for example bat handlers and veterinarians, or certain activities such as caving.

Bat Lyssavirus in Australia

Rabies has not been reported in domestic or wild animals in this country; therefore most travellers are considered to be at low risk. However, bats may carry bat lyssavirus (bat rabies).

Prevention
  • Travellers should avoid contact with bats. Bites from bats are frequently unrecognised. Rabies-like disease caused by bat lyssaviruses is preventable with prompt post-exposure rabies treatment.
  • Following a possible exposure, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and an urgent local medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial. Although rabies has not been reported in other animals in this country, it is sensible to seek prompt medical advice if bitten or scratched. It is possible, although very rare for bats to pass rabies like viruses to other animals including pets.
  • Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
Rabies vaccination
  • Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are recommended for those who are at increased risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus and those working with bats).
  • Pre exposure vaccines could be considered for those whose activities put them at increased risk of exposure to bats.

Rabies in brief

Other risks

The risk below may be present in all or part of the country.

Dengue

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dawn and dusk.  It causes a flu-like illness, which can occasionally develop into a more serious life-threatening form of the disease. Severe dengue is rare in travellers.

The mosquitoes that transmit dengue are most abundant in towns, cities and surrounding areas. All travellers to dengue areas are at risk.

Dengue in Australia

There is a risk of dengue in the state of Queensland. At present the risk of dengue in other parts of Australia is minimal.

Prevention

  • All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dawn and dusk.
  • There is no vaccination or medication to prevent dengue.

Dengue in brief

Important News

06 Feb 2015

Pertussis: worldwide

Pertussis (whooping cough) is on the increase in some countries Read more

19 Jan 2015

Mosquito-borne diseases: Australia

Mosquitoes in Australia transmit various diseases Read more

Outbreaks

18 Apr 2017 New South Wales. Australia

As of 13 April 2017, an outbreak of measles has been reported in western Sydney. There have been 21 confirmed cases in New South Wales with onset of symptoms in 2017. 

Human

Close association

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13 Apr 2017 Australia

As of 12 April 2017, five cases with exposure in central Melbourne have been reported in the last two weeks. The source of the infection is currently being investigated.

Human

Air-Borne

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10 Apr 2017 Australia

As of 24 March 2017, a total of 3,678 cases have been reported this year. The same period last year only saw 275 cases.

Human

Vector-Borne

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10 Apr 2017 New South Wales. Australia

As of 10 April 2017, a total of 835 cases have been reported this year. The last spike in cases were reported in February-March 2015.

Human

Vector-Borne

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06 Mar 2017 Western Australia. Australia

As of 6 March 2017, the number of cases are increasing sharply with 115, 141, and 91 in Western Australia in the last three months, respectively. The last spike in cases were reported two years ago.

Human

Vector-Borne

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09 Jan 2017 Northern Territory. Australia

As of 5 January 2017, the last quarter of 2017 saw 17 cases with one death in Northern Territories. This is higher than the number of cases reported in recent years.

Human

Miscellaneous

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04 Aug 2016 Australia

As of 3 August 2016, more than 80 cases of Salmonella Hvittingfoss have been reported nationally with 20 of these reported in South Australia (SA) since late June 2016. On average SA sees about two cases of Salmonella Hvittingfoss per year. The outbreak is connected to the consumption of rockmelons.

Human

Food and water-borne

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