General information

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 in Jamaica, however, there is a certificate requirement.
  • Under International Health Regulations (2005), a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission
  • Due to an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil 2017, country certificate requirements may be updated at short notice. Please check Pan American Health Organisation for updated or additional requirements for the international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis
  • 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 A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection transmitted through contaminated food and water or by direct contact with an infectious person. Symptoms are often mild or absent in young children, but the disease becomes more serious with advancing age. Recovery can vary from weeks to months. Following hepatitis A illness immunity is lifelong.

Those at increased risk include travellers visiting friends and relatives, long-stay travellers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.

Prevention
All travellers should take care with personal, food and water hygiene.

Hepatitis A vaccination
Vaccination is recommended for those whose activities put them at increased risk. This includes:

  • those who are staying with or visiting the local population
  • frequent and/or long-stay travellers to areas where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor
  • adventure travellers visiting rural areas and staying in basic accommodation such as backpackers
  • those with existing medical conditions such as liver disease or haemophilia
  • men who have sex with men
  • injecting drug users
  • those who may be exposed to the virus through their work
  • those going to areas of hepatitis A outbreaks who have limited access to safe water and medical care

Hepatitis A in brief

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 Jamaica
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

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.

Bat Lyssavirus in Jamaica
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.


A full course of pre-exposure vaccines simplifies and shortens the course of post-exposure treatment and removes the need for rabies immunoglobulin which is in short supply world-wide.

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 Jamaica

Dengue is known or has the potential to occur in this country.

Prevention

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

Dengue in brief

Zika Virus

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dawn and dusk. A small number of cases of sexual transmission of ZIKV have also been reported. Most people infected with ZIKV have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are usually mild and short-lived. Serious complications and deaths are not common. However, there is now scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of congenital Zika syndrome (microcephaly and other congenital anomalies) and Guillain-Barré syndrome. 

Zika virus in Jamaica

This country is considered to have a moderate risk of ZIKV transmission. Pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel until after pregnancy. Details of specific affected areas within this country are not available but the mosquitoes that transmit ZIKV are unlikely to be found above 2,000m altitude.

The map below shows areas which are above 2,000m and can be used by travellers and health professionals as a general guide to indicate potentially lower risk areas for mosquito-acquired ZIKV infection, however there may still be a risk of sexual transmission.

Map provided by the Travelers’ Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

zika-map-jamaica

The categories shown on this map are intended as a general guideline and should not be considered to indicate absolute risk. Elevation may vary within an area to a larger extent than this map can depict. The presence of mosquitoes may change seasonally, with increasing temperatures or rainfall, and may change over time. Travellers to destinations that cross or are near an elevation border may wish to consider the destination as an area of lower elevation. Travellers to high elevations are still at risk of getting Zika from sex.

Prevention

  • All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dawn and dusk.
  • There is no vaccination or medication to prevent ZIKV infection.
  • It is recommended that pregnant women planning to travel to areas with a moderate risk of ZIKV transmission should postpone non-essential travel until after pregnancy.
  • Women should avoid becoming pregnant while travelling in, and for 8 weeks after leaving an area with active ZIKV transmission or 8 weeks after last possible ZIKV exposure
  • Couples should follow guidance on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika and avoid conception while travelling and for up to 6 months on return.
  • If a woman develops symptoms compatible with ZIKV infection, it is recommended she avoids becoming pregnant for a further 8 weeks following recovery.
  • Pregnant women who visited this country while pregnant, or who become pregnant within 8 weeks of leaving this country or within 8 weeks after last possible ZIKV exposure, should contact their GP, obstetrician or midwife for further advice, even if they have not been unwell. Further information about when to perform fetal ultrasound scanning, and, if necessary, referral to the local fetal medicine service is available.

Preventing sexual transmission

See detailed guidance on factors to consider when assessing the risk of ZIKV.

Zika virus in brief

Important News

03 Aug 2017

Zika virus – update and advice for travellers

Following an expert review, three risk ratings for areas of Zika virus transmission have been defined - Advice for travellers visiting these areas has Read more

24 Feb 2017

Country requirements for an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP): key changes for 2017

A quick reference to which countries have made changes to their entry or exit requirements for an ICVP (yellow fever certificate) Read more

19 Jan 2016

Diseases transmitted by insects and ticks in the Americas

Depending on the destination, travellers may be at risk of a number of different diseases Read more

21 Jul 2015

Chikungunya virus: Caribbean and the Americas

Ongoing surveillance on Chikungunya virus in Caribbean and the Americas Read more

Outbreaks

24 Oct 2016 Jamaica

As 11 September 2016, a total of 1,570 probable cases (102 confirmed) have been reported in 2016 to date. The number of probable cases already exceeds the number reported for the whole of 2015 by a factor of 17.

Human

Vector-Borne

Updates 1

Verified

PAHO - Read more