The information on these pages should be used to research health risks and to inform the pre-travel consultation.
Due to COVID-19, travel advice is subject to rapid change. Countries may change entry requirements and close their borders at very short notice. Travellers must ensure they check current Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice in addition to the FCDO specific country page (where available) which provides additional information on travel restrictions and entry requirements in addition to safety and security advice.
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.
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.
Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.
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.
Country specific diphtheria recommendations are not provided here. Diphtheria tetanus and polio are combined in a single vaccine in the UK. Therefore, when a tetanus booster is recommended for travellers, diphtheria vaccine is also given. Should there be an outbreak of diphtheria in a country, diphtheria vaccination guidance will be provided.
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.
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.
Proof of vaccination with the quadrivalent vaccine (A, C, W, Y) is a visa requirement for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and seasonal workers (see 'Some Travellers’ section below).
Proof of polio vaccination is necessary for some travellers. Please check the World Health Organization: International Travel and Health for latest country specific information.
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 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.
Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek appropriate medical attention.
Country specific information on medical facilities may be found in the ‘health’ section of the FCDO foreign travel advice website.
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 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.
All travellers should take care with personal, food and water hygiene.
Vaccination is recommended for those whose activities put them at increased risk. This includes:
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.
2% or more of the population are known or thought to be persistently infected with the hepatitis B virus (intermediate/high prevalence).
Travellers should avoid contact with blood or body fluids. This includes:
A sterile medical equipment kit may be helpful when travelling to resource poor areas.
Vaccination could be considered for all travellers, and is recommended for those whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk including:
For Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and seasonal workers to this area, proof of vaccination with a meningococcal ACWY vaccine is a visa requirement for entry.
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by inhaling respiratory droplets or direct contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person. This is usually following prolonged or frequent close contact. The most common forms of meningococcal disease are meningococcal meningitis (infection of the protective lining around the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and seasonal workers at the pilgrimages are at increased risk due to the crowded conditions and possible close contact with people from countries with higher rates of meningococcal disease.
Outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis were reported in 1987, 2000 and 2001 during the Hajj.
Travellers may reduce their risk by avoiding overcrowded situations where possible.
For pilgrims and seasonal workers proof of vaccination with a meningococcal ACWY vaccine is a visa requirement for entry. When the meningococcal ACWY conjugate vaccine is used, this should be given at least 10 days before, and within the last 5 years of planned travel. Details of the vaccine name and type (i.e. conjugate vaccine) should be recorded in a patient held vaccine record showing the traveller’s full name. It is advisable that this vaccination record is issued by the traveller's doctor, nurse or pharmacist and should reflect accurately details of the vaccine administered and be authenticated with the healthcare providers official stamp.
Pilgrims and seasonal workers must carry vaccination certificates with them for inspection by the Saudi Authority at port of entry.
The meningococcal ACWY conjugate vaccine is recommended. If a polysaccharide ACWY vaccine has been administered previously (no longer available in UK) it should have been administered within the last 3 years of planned travel.
Rabies is a viral infection which is usually transmitted following contact with the saliva of an infected animal most often via a bite, scratch or lick to an open wound or mucous membrane (such as on the eye, nose or mouth). Although many different animals can transmit the virus, most cases follow a bite or scratch from an infected dog. In some parts of the world, bats are an important source of infection.
Rabies symptoms can take some time to develop, but when they do, the condition is almost always fatal.
The risk of exposure is increased by certain activities and length of stay (see below). Children are at increased risk as they are less likely to avoid contact with animals and to report a bite, scratch or lick.
Rabies is considered a risk and has been reported in domestic animals in this country. Bats may also carry rabies-like viruses.
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.
Pre-exposure vaccinations are recommended for travellers whose activities put them at increased risk including:
Malaria is a serious illness caused by infection of red blood cells with a parasite called Plasmodium. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dusk and dawn.
Symptoms usually begin with a fever (high temperature) of 38°C (100°F) or more. Other symptoms may include feeling cold and shivery, headache, nausea, vomiting and aching muscles. Symptoms may appear between eight days and one year after the infected mosquito bite.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment is required as people with malaria can deteriorate quickly. Those at higher risk of malaria, or of severe complications from malaria, include pregnant women, infants and young children, the elderly, travellers who do not have a functioning spleen and those visiting friends and relatives.
Travellers should follow an ABCD guide to preventing malaria:
Awareness of the risk – Risk depends on the specific location, season of travel, length of stay, activities and type of accommodation.
Bite prevention – Travellers should take mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Chemoprophylaxis – Travellers should take antimalarials (malaria prevention tablets) if appropriate for the area (see below). No antimalarials are 100% effective but taking them in combination with mosquito bite avoidance measures will give substantial protection against malaria.
Diagnosis – Travellers who develop a fever of 38°C [100°F] or higher more than one week after being in a malaria risk area, or who develop any symptoms suggestive of malaria within a year of return should seek immediate medical care. Emergency standby treatment may be considered for those going to remote areas with limited access to medical attention.
In low risk areas, antimalarials may be considered in exceptional circumstances for travellers who are at higher risk of malaria (such as long term travellers visiting friends and relatives), or of severe complications from malaria (such as the elderly [over 70 years], the immunosuppressed,those with complex co-morbidities, pregnant women, infants and young children). The final decision whether or not to advise antimalarials rests with the travel health advisor and the traveller after individual risk assessment.
Travellers with an absent or poorly functioning spleen should be dissuaded from travel to any area with risk of malaria. Where travel is essential, awareness, rigorous bite avoidance and antimalarials should be advised, even for the low risk areas.
For special risk groups, you may wish to seek specialist advice. For the low risk areas in this country/area chloroquine plus proguanil would be an option.
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 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. Select risk to expand information.
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.
There is a point of elevation in this country higher than 2,500 metres.
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.
There is a risk of insect or tick-borne diseases in some areas of Western Asia. This includes diseases such as chikungunya, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Rift Valley fever and West Nile virus.
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.
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.
There is a risk of dengue in the provinces of: Al Madinah, Jizan and Makkah (including the cities of Mecca and Jeddah).
Seasonal influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and spreads easily from person to person via respiratory droplets when coughing and sneezing. Symptoms appear rapidly and include fever, muscle aches, headache, malaise (feeling unwell), cough, sore throat and a runny nose. In healthy individuals, symptoms improve without treatment within two to seven days. Severe illness is more common in those aged 65 years or over, those under 2 years of age, or those who have underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for complications of influenza.
Seasonal influenza occurs throughout the world. In the northern hemisphere (including the UK), most influenza occurs from as early as October through to March. In the southern hemisphere, influenza mostly occurs between April and September. In the tropics, influenza can occur throughout the year.
All travellers should:
If individuals at higher risk of severe disease following influenza infection are travelling to a country when influenza is likely to be circulating they should ensure they received a flu vaccination in the previous 12 months.
The vaccine used in the UK protects against the strains predicted to occur during the winter months of the northern hemisphere. It is not possible to obtain vaccine for the southern hemisphere in the UK, but the vaccine used during the UK influenza season should still provide important protection against strains likely to occur during the southern hemisphere influenza season, and in the tropics.
Avian influenza viruses can rarely infect and cause disease in humans. Such cases are usually associated with close exposure to infected bird or animal populations. Where appropriate, information on these will be available in the outbreaks and news sections of the relevant country pages. Seasonal influenza vaccines will not provide protection against avian influenza.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
MERS-CoV is a viral infection transmitted following direct or indirect contact with infected camels or camel-related products. Limited person to person transmission through coughing and sneezing from infected persons, typically in healthcare settings, has also been reported.
Symptoms include fever and cough that can progress to severe shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Deaths have been reported, with the risk increasing with advancing age or underlying medical conditions.
MERS-CoV has been reported to occur in this country.
All travellers, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should practise good general health measures, such as regular hand washing with soap and water at all times, but especially after visiting farms, barns or market areas. They should:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent MERS-CoV.
More information about Hajj and Umrah is available from the Hajj and Umrah factsheet.
Outdoor air quality
Poor air quality is a significant public health problem in many parts of the world. Exposure to high levels of air pollution over short time periods (e.g. minutes/hours/days) and longer time periods (e.g. years) is linked to many different acute and chronic health problems. These effects are mainly on the respiratory (lungs and airways) and cardiovascular (heart function and blood circulation) systems.
Current information on world air quality is available from the world air quality index project.
Travellers with health problems that might make them more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution who are travelling to areas of high pollution should:
It is unclear if face masks are beneficial at reducing exposure and may make breathing more difficult for those with pre-existing lung conditions. Those who choose to use one should make sure that the mask fits well and know how to wear it properly.
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection. Schistosoma larvae are released from infected freshwater snails and can penetrate intact human skin following contact with contaminated freshwater. Travellers may be exposed during activities such as wading, swimming, bathing or washing clothes in freshwater streams, rivers or lakes.
Schistosomiasis infection may cause no symptoms, but early symptoms can include a rash and itchy skin (‘swimmer’s itch’), fever, chills, cough, or muscle aches. If not treated, it can cause serious long term health problems such as intestinal or bladder disease.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), cases of schistosomiasis were reported in this country in 2012.
COVID-19 disease is caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV2. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough, a high temperature, and a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell. Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening. Older people and those with underlying health problems are more likely to develop severe disease.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with people who have the virus. It is mainly transmitted from person to person by breathing in droplets produced when someone infected with the virus breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes. It is also spread by touching the infected droplets on surfaces, then touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe illness, hospitalisation, or dying from the virus. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces, but does not eliminate the risk of infection, so social distancing and personal and respiratory hygiene remain important interventions, particularly during overseas travel.
Travellers should always check the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and their country-specific pages for the latest COVID-19 travel advisories which may include information on travel restrictions, quarantine, COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements. This includes considering the recommendations and requirements for any transit countries.
Travellers should be aware that COVID-19 case numbers in individual countries/areas can increase rapidly, and healthcare capacity and country requirements can change at short notice.
Most countries worldwide present a risk of exposure to COVID-19. The risk of COVID-19, public health policy, and travel advice or restrictions may change quickly, therefore travellers should ensure they have access to up to date information on COVID-19 and be prepared for rapid changes in guidance both before and during travel.
All travellers should check the FCDO travel advice and carefully consider their personal situation and risks of COVID-19 before travel to this country. This is particularly important in those at higher risk from COVID-19 who may wish to seek medical advice before travel.
Individuals entering or returning to the UK may be required to follow additional UK border measures.
If travelling to this country, travellers should:
If travellers develop COVID-19 symptoms while abroad, they should:
Using information collated from a variety of sources, we regularly review and update information on overseas disease outbreaks and other health issues that may affect the UK traveller.
Please note that not all cases of disease or outbreaks are reported; some diseases may only be reported if they occur outside of the usual recognised risk area or season, or they have been reported in greater than usual numbers.
Further information on the Outbreak Surveillance section.