Overseas Travel

Travel health information

Up to date travel health information is available from the Australian Government Smartraveller website and the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Sexual health overseas

Sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS occur in all countries of the world. Always practice safe sex and don't share needles.

Malaria Prophylaxis

Discuss with your doctor to find out if you need to take medicine to prevent malaria. If travelling to a malarial area reduce your risk of mosquito bites by using insect repellent; long-sleeved clothing; bed-net; and flying insect spray.

Vaccinations

Consult your doctor at least 6 weeks before your intended travel date for specific advice relevant to you and your travel plans.

Vaccine recommendations for overseas travel may include

Tetanus
Typhoid fever
Hepatitis A   |  Hepatitis B   |  Combined Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Meningitus
Yellow fever
Rabies
Japanese encephalitis
Cholera
Influenza

Tetanus

Travellers to countries where access to health services is difficult and who have not had a tetanus vaccination in the previous 10 years should have a dose of diphtheria-tetanus vaccine or diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.

Adults who have not had a primary course of tetanus vaccination in childhood should have 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus vaccine 4 weeks apart, followed by booster doses at 10 and 20 years.

Adults who reached the age of 50 and have not had a booster dose of tetanus vaccine in the previous 10 years should have a dose of either diphtheria-tetanus vaccine or diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is spread by contaminated food and water. It is a serious illness causing high fever, headache, abdominal pain & constipation or diarrhoea.

There are two types of vaccine:

  • Typhoid Oral Vaccine : 3 tablets taken over 5 days, one month before leaving. It lasts 3 years and is inactivated if you are taking antibiotics.
  • Typhoid injection : one injection, lasts 3 years.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus which affects the liver. It is spread by contaminated food and water and from person to person.

Hepatitis A Vaccine :

  • a single injection gives protection for 1 year
  • a booster at 6-12 months gives protection for at least 10 years

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus which affects the liver. It is spread in body fluids and is commonly transmitted sexually or through sharing needles.

Hepatitis B vaccine:

A course of 3 vaccinations given at 0, 1 and 6 months will usually give long-term protection.

Combined Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

A combined Hepatitis A and B vaccine is available.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the membrane covering the brain. It causes high fever, headache, stiff neck, & drowsiness, and may be rapidly fatal.

The vaccine protects against epidemics which occur in sub-Saharan Africa, northern India, Nepal. It is required for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

A booster every 3 years is suggested. This is not the vaccine for use against meningitis in Australia.

Australia students using group residential accommodation in Australia or overseas should receive the Meningitis C vaccine

Yellow fever

Yellow Fever is a virus spread by mosquitoes. It occurs in parts of Africa and South America. This is the only vaccine which is required for entry to Australia from an infected country.

The vaccine lasts 10 years.

Rabies

Rabies is a virus which affects the nervous system. It is spread by a bite or scratch from an infected animal, usually a dog or a monkey (or by inhalation in a bat inhabited cave). It occurs in most of the world but is most common in India, South America, Thailand, the Philippines & Africa.

Vaccination is recommended if you will be working in rural areas or with animals, or going for an extended period away from medical help (eg trekking).

There are 3 doses of vaccine given over 1 month.

It is also possible to be vaccinated after exposure (an immediate dose of immune globulin and 5 doses of vaccine over 1 month).

Even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to have boosters if you are bitten.

Whether you have been vaccinated or not, thoroughly washing and disinfecting the wound is very important.

Japanese encephalitis

This is a virus spread by mosquitoes and can affect the brain in a small proportion of cases.

A primary course of 3 vaccinations is given at 0, 7 and 30 days.

A booster dose every 2 years is recommended to maintain immunity.

Cholera

Vaccination is rarely indicated for travellers, as the risk of acquiring cholera is extremely low. People at considerable risk, such as those working in humanitarian disaster areas, and travellers with some chronic health conditions should be vaccinated. Discuss with your doctor for more information.

Two doses of oral vaccine are given between 1 and 6 weeks apart.

If ongoing protection is required, a single booster dose is given after 2 years.

Influenza

A single dose of vaccine is recommended annually.