Sri Lanka

An island country in South Asia, Sri Lanka is home to many cultures, languages and ethnic groups and has a history spanning over 3000 years.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Sri Lanka. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.

  • Plan Head - Calendar/Itinerary?

    Six to eight weeks out from departure is a good time to have a travel health consultation. You may need blood tests to check immunity to diseases or need a course of vaccines like rabies for example, and this gives you plenty of time to get everything completed. If you are travelling sooner however it's not too late for an appointment, simply make one as soon as you can.

  • Mosquito's and Bugs

    In Sri Lanka some of the disease mosquitoes transmit include dengue fever and chikungunya. While there are vaccines for Japanese encephalitis, mosquito avoidance is the only way to prevent many of these diseases.

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water in Sri Lanka is generally not safe to drink.

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Everyone should be up to date for routine childhood immunisations and may need adult boosters for such diseases as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B.
    Additional vaccines may also be recommended depending on your individual medical history, current itinerary and the likelihood of future travel.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is usually recommended for travel to Sri Lanka.

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  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid vaccination is often recommended for travel to Sri Lanka.

  • Rabies

    Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (well before travel) for extended trips or where contact with animals is likely. Whether pre-vaccinated or not, thoroughly flush and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound car

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  • Travellers’ diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery

    Observe strict food and water safety precautions and hand hygiene. Consider taking a water filter and well stocked kit with guidelines for treatment. Seek medical advice if persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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  • Japanese Encephalitis

    This serious but rare mosquito borne illness occurs mainly in rural areas, particularly in the wet season. Vaccination is available for those at high risk.

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  • Cholera

    An oral vaccine available for the prevention of cholera which also reduces the risk of travellers diarrhoea, is often taken by those wishing to significantly reduce their risk of gastro.

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  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers. In tropical climates there is no 'flu season', risk being all year round.

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  • Dengue fever

    In 2016 almost 50,000 cases of dengue fever were reported in Sri Lanka, around half of which occurred in Colombo or surrounding areas. Increasing in incidence in many parts of the world, dengue is a serious mosquito borne disease.

    Read More
  • Chikungunya

    Spread through mosquito bites, this viral illness can present similar to Ross River virus, is usually less severe than dengue but may cause long term aches and pains

  • Natural Disasters and Security Issues

    Monsoon season in the Southwest is May through to October. Heavy rains may result in severe flooding and landslides. Keep an eye on the news. Security and other travel issues are well documented on the Australian government’s Smart Traveller website.

  • Dehydration and heat stroke

    Ensure adequate hydration, avoid prolonged periods in the sun and rest/cool down to treat. If severe seek medical attention.

Latest Health Alerts

  • COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

    March 29, 2020

    As there is no non-essential overseas travel at this time this article will simply remain as an information resource for COVID-19. See our main COVID-19 page for more detailed information. We hope to be able to inform our travelers once again after this crisis passes. The links below remain trustworthy

  • Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

    January 9, 2020

    Over 48,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sri Lanka since 1st October 2019, a significant increase in incidence. Travellers should observe strict mosquito avoidance measures, particularly during daylight hours.

  • Solomon Islands – proof of measles vaccination required

    December 19, 2019

    As a result of recent outbreaks of measles in various countries, the Solomon Islands' will be requiring arriving travellers from/via American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, or Tonga to show proof of measles vaccination, effective December 28th 2019. Vaccination needs to have been at least 15 days prior and