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Vanuatu

This tropical volcanic island chain stretches 1300 km from north to south in the pacific ocean. Australians visit to experience the ancient culture and scenery including stunning beaches, waterfalls, jungles, volcanoes and dive sites. Some also travel for humanitarian aid work for the benefit of the country’s poor, mostly rural population, especially after natural disasters.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to to these islands. 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 Vanuatu mosquitos transmit a number of diseases. These include malaria, dengue and zika (which may cause birth defects in pregnant women).

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water is not safe to drink, especially outside of Port Vila and Luganville.

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Travellers should be up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B. Any of the following vaccines may also be recommended – hepatitis A, typhoid and influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age underlying medical conditions and past vaccinations.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A vaccination is usually recommended for trips to Vanuatu.

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  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid is recommended for some itineraries.

  • Malaria

    This bloodstream parasite is the main risk from mozzies everywhere except in Port Vila and the southernmost islands (Tafea province). 7 in 1000 locals will develop malaria each year. Strict avoidance of mosquito bites from dusk till dawn and preventative malaria medication are advised for most travellers (except those visiting only the above areas with no risk). Any high fever after travelling to Vanuatu requires prompt medical assessment.

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  • Marine risks

    Coral cuts, box jellyfish, stonefish and sea urchins all pose a risk to swimmers, divers and snorkelers. Seek local advice for prevention and immediate first aid for treatment. Seafood poisoning (ciguatera toxin) can be avoided by not eating large reef fish, such as snapper, groper, and barracuda (even if well cooked). For dive emergencies here is a hyperbaric chamber in Port Vila.

  • Traveller’s Diarrhoea, Giardia and Dysentery

    Observe good hand hygiene, particularly on cruises. Consider taking a water filter if travelling remote and a well stocked self treatment medication kit with guidelines for treatment of moderate to severe gastrointestinal or respiratory illness.

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  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers and is found all year round in tropical climates.

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  • Dengue fever

    Increasing in incidence in many parts of the world, dengue is a serious mosquito borne disease.

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  • Zika virus

    Not just a disease of South America, those travelling to many destinations around the world (including Vanuatu) are at risk from Zika virus.

    Read More
  • Natural disasters

    Vanuatu is prone to the full spectrum of natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and volcanic eruptions. Keep a close eye on the news and the Australian government’s Smartraveller website for advice about risk.

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