There are some risks that are relevant to all 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. Some additional risks (which may be present in all or part of this country) are mentioned below and are presented alphabetically.
There is a risk of altitude illness when travelling to destinations of 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) or higher. Important risk factors are the altitude gained, rate of ascent and sleeping altitude. Rapid ascent without a period of acclimatisation puts a traveller at higher risk.
There are three syndromes; acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE). HACE and HAPE require immediate descent and medical treatment.
Altitude illness in New Zealand
There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres. An example place of interest: Mt Cook 3,754m.
- Travellers should spend a few days at an altitude below 3,000m.
- Where possible travellers should avoid travel from altitudes less than 1,200m to altitudes greater than 3,500m in a single day.
- Ascent above 3,000m should be gradual. Travellers should avoid increasing sleeping elevation by more than 500m per day and ensure a rest day (at the same altitude) every three or four days.
- Acetazolamide can be used to assist with acclimatisation, but should not replace gradual ascent.
- Travellers who develop symptoms of AMS (headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and sleep disturbance) should avoid further ascent. In the absence of improvement or with progression of symptoms the first response should be to descend.
- Development of HACE or HAPE symptoms requires immediate descent and emergency medical treatment.
Altitude illness in brief
Biting insects or ticks
Insect or tick bites can cause irritation and infections of the skin at the site of a bite. They can also spread certain diseases.
Diseases in New Zealand
There is a risk of insect or tick-borne diseases in some areas of New Zealand. This includes diseases such as West Nile virus.
- All travellers should avoid insect and tick bites day and night.
- There are no vaccinations (or medications) to prevent these diseases.
Further information about specific insect or tick-borne diseases for this country can be found, if appropriate on this page, in other sections of the country information pages and the insect and tick bite avoidance factsheet.
Rabies (Bat Lyssavirus)
Bat Lyssavirus in New Zealand
Indigenous bats in New Zealand do not have bat lyssavirues (bat rabies), however, if a bat was imported to New Zealand, it may carry bat lyssavirus (bat rabies).
- Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are not recommended.
- Travellers should avoid contact with bats.
- Following a possible bat exposure, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and an urgent local medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial.
- Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
Rabies in brief