18 Apr 2019

Country Focus: Pakistan

Pre-travel advice for those going to Pakistan Country Focus: Pakistan

Most travellers to Pakistan have a safe and healthy trip but potential health hazards include accidents and injuries, contaminated food and water, sun/heat exposure and illnesses spread by insects. 

Road traffic accidents are common: be aware as a pedestrian, especially when crossing roads and think carefully about transport. Remember road maintenance and driving standards can be very different outside Europe.

Before travel

See our Pakistan country information page for current travel health advice. Arrange an appointment with your GP centre or travel clinic to check current malaria advice and to ensure you are up-to-date with all recommended travel and routine UK vaccines, including a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab.

Typhoid is a risk in Pakistan, especially if you are visiting friends and family. An ongoing outbreak of extensively drug resistant typhoid has been reported in this country by World Health Organization [1]. Before you go, make sure you had a typhoid vaccine in the past three years and follow good food, water and hygiene advice. In the UK, typhoid vaccines are licensed for adults and children from two years of age. However, the injectable vaccine can be offered ‘off license’ to children from 1 year of age when the risk of typhoid is considered to be high [2]. 

Pakistan continues to report cases of poliomyelitis (polio). Polio is a virus transmitted through food and water contaminated with infected human faeces or by direct contact with an infectious person. It can causes paralysis, but is vaccine preventable. Before you travel:

  • Check you have completed a polio vaccine course according to the routine UK schedule
  • If your last polio vaccine was more than 10 years ago, a booster dose of inactivated polio-containing vaccine (IPV) is recommended before travel. 
  • If you are visiting Pakistan for four or more weeks, you may be asked for proof of polio vaccine given four weeks to twelve months before leaving Pakistan. An additional dose of IPV-containing vaccine is recommended for some individuals prior to travel. For further information on these groups, and the international certificate requirements, see our vaccine recommendations for Pakistan.

Rabies - a fatal virus spread by contact with saliva from an infected animal is also a risk in Pakistan. Dogs are responsible for most of the human cases worldwide, but all animals can carry rabies. Be aware of the risk, and know what to do if you are bitten or scratched. 

Pack a basic first kit that includes antiseptic, diarrhoea treatment, gauze, painkillers, plasters and tweezers, insect repellent. If you take regular medication, check our factsheet for additional recommendations on travelling with medicines.

Remember to get comprehensive medical insurance for each traveller, covering repatriation, pre-existing medical conditions and all planned activities.

Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office safety and security information before you go. It is recommended that you avoid travel to certain parts of the country.

During travel

Be careful with what you eat and drink, follow basic hygiene rules and be prepared to manage the symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea. Reduce your risk of insect bites by using effective insect repellents, protective clothing. Some mosquitoes and ticks are active during daylight hours, others are active at night, see our insect and tick bite avoidance factsheet for further advice.

After travel

Get urgent medical attention for any fever or flu-like symptoms and remember to tell your doctor you have travelled abroad.

Resources

Hepatitis A vaccine recommendations for Turkey updated

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for most travellers to Turkey Read more

Zika advice for Thailand updated for pregnant women

Pregnant women are advised to avoid travel to Thailand Read more

Update to rabies risk for Estonia

NaTHNaC has reviewed and updated the rabies recommendations for Estonia Read more

MHRA issue a reminder for healthcare professionals administering yellow fever vaccine

This alert highlights two reports of fatal adverse reactions to yellow fever vaccine and the importance of a detailed risk assessment before vaccination Read more
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