You’ve booked your holiday to Southeast Asia and now you need to consider what travel vaccinations you might need. It’s important to remember that the risk of catching preventable diseases is a worldwide phenomenon, but it does depend on where you’re travelling to and whether you’re travelling outside resorts or for a period longer than a few days.
An area of ‘high risk’ basically means an area where preventable disease is much more common than in Australia, and a vaccination is generally recommended for both ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ risk countries. Here is a guide to the risk factors and the travel vaccinations you should consider having before travelling to Southeast Asia. (If you click on the links it will give you a description of the disease in question).
Taiwan is considered ‘low’ risk in terms of Hepatitis A, however, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are considered ‘moderate’ risk and therefore a vaccination is recommended. East Timor and Indonesia are considered ‘high’ risk destinations so a Hepatitis A vaccination should seriously be considered – consult your GP for more information.
There is a ‘low’ presence of Hepatitis B in the local populations of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, however, ask your GP whether they would recommend you have the vaccination. They will probably recommend it if you are a high-risk traveller in terms of sport, adventure, sexual or occupational hazards.
There is a ‘moderate’ presence of the disease in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore and vaccination is recommended. In Vietnam, Laos and East Timor there is a ‘high’ presence of Hepatitis B in the local population, so travel vaccinations are highly recommended and your GP should be consulted regarding your specific risk.
Taiwan is considered ‘low’ risk for most travellers, however, you should consult your GP about your specific risk. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are considered ‘moderate’ risk, and vaccinations are recommended if you are travelling in smaller cities and in rural areas outside of the usual tourist routes. Some medical conditions also pre-dispose travellers to infection, so you should consult your GP for your specific risk.
In terms of travel vaccinations, they are definitely recommended in both Indonesia and in East Timor as these locations are classified as ‘high’ risk.
Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable illness in travellers. There is a year-round risk present in many Southeast Asian countries, including in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and East Timor. A flu vaccine is recommended and will be effective for 12 months.
There is a northern hemisphere winter risk (November to April) in Taiwan and Laos, and again a flu vaccine is recommended.
In most Southeast Asian countries rabies is present, however, a recommendation for a vaccine will depend on your planned activities and your specific itinerary. In terms of travel vaccinations, a rabies vaccination is generally recommended for high-risk travellers like cavers, animal handlers and vets.
Additionally, they are recommended for higher risk travellers who plan rural travel, extended periods outdoors, adventurous activities including biking, and expats or people travelling long-term to endemic regions.
This disease is present in many Southeast Asian countries and a recommended travel vaccination will be dependent on your type of travel, the length of your stay and your itinerary. Mosquito avoidance measures are highly recommended all year round, and it’s worth bearing in mind that risk is highest around agricultural areas and pig farms. You should consult your GP about your specific risk, particularly if you’re travelling during the wet season.
There is no current risk to travellers.
There is no current risk to travellers.
There is no risk to those travelling to Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor or Taiwan. In Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan and Malaysia the disease is present, but the risk is low for the majority of travellers. However, volunteers and refugee workers should consider vaccinations, and all travellers should take food and water precautions.
Travellers’ diarrhoea affects 20 to 60% of overseas travellers, so food and water precautions are essential and self-treatment medications may be recommended. There is currently a ‘moderate’ risk in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and in Taiwan, and a ‘high’ risk in Myanmar and East Timor.
Diseases such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya may be present in all Southeast Asian countries and the seasonal risk will vary by the location. Whether preventive measures will be recommended will depend on your type of travel, the length of stay and your itinerary and should be discussed with your GP.
For those countries where the disease is present, the risk is highest in urban and semi-urban areas, but it may also occur in rural areas, so insect avoidance measures are highly recommended all year round. Your best defence is to dress properly and use an effective insect repellent in the correct manner.
There is currently no risk of catching Malaria for those travelling to either Singapore or Taiwan. Malaria is currently present to some degree in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, and in Malaysia. Whether or not anti-malarial medications are recommended should be discussed with your GP, particularly if you are planning a long stay or participating in a significant level of outdoor activities.
Malaria is present throughout Cambodia and anti-malarial medications are recommended, however, the type will depend on a number of factors, so discuss with your GP.
There is currently no risk of yellow fever for those travelling to Taiwan. In Laos, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, with the exception of those travelling directly from Australia or New Zealand.
In Thailand and Indonesia, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers aged 9 months or more arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, and also for travellers that have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Again, no travel vaccination certificate is required for direct travel from Australia or New Zealand.
In Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and East Timor, the above is also the case, however, travellers can be aged one year or more rather than 9 months.
There is no risk of travellers catching cholera in Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor or in Taiwan. However, the disease is present in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, although the risk is ‘low’ for travellers. Volunteers and refugee workers should definitely consider being vaccinated, all travellers should take food and water precautions and you should consult your GP if concerned about your specific risk.
There is no risk of schistosomiasis in Myanmar, Malaysia, East Timor or in Singapore. In Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines, swimming or bathing in fresh water is the main cause of infection so the activity should be avoided if you’re unsure.
Confused about what travel vaccinations you need for travel to South East Asia? Contact us today on (07) 3711 2880 to book your professional consultation.