Papua New Guinea has a reputation for being under-developed in parts, but with plenty for tourists to see and do, and spectacular natural environments to explore. When travelling in Papua New Guinea there are a number of vaccinations that should at least be considered, and some precautions to take to avoid any unnecessary illness or disease.
- Ensure you are up to date on routine childhood vaccinations
- Let the doctor know of your travel plans, activities and itinerary (including other countries)
- Practice good food and handwashing hygiene.
- Be aware and follow any local laws or regulations in place to contain water or mosquito borne disease outbreaks (dengue fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Cholera etc)
- Avoid mosquito bites. Occasional outbreaks of mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue fever may occur from time to time
- Practice safe sex and do not share needles
Which vaccinations are recommended for Papua New Guinea?
Any or all of the below vaccinations may be recommended for you before travelling to Papua New Guinea. Please ensure you see the Travel Clinic Doctor around 6 weeks prior to travel at least, to ensure that there is time to administer any necessary vaccines, provide booster shots and ensure they have taken effect.
The following vaccines listed are general advice and recommendations only. This information is not a substitute for adequate medical advice from the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor or your own doctor. It is your responsibility to let the doctor know anything you think may be relevant to your vaccination program during your appointment. This will ensure you get the best possible advice, with no unwanted consequences.
Routine childhood vaccinations – measles in PNG
It is vitally important that you are up to date on childhood vaccinations if you plan to travel to Papua New Guinea, Manus Island or any other neighbouring islands. There have been increasing numbers of measles cases, including in travellers returning to Australia, in 2014 and other childhood diseases such as whooping cough, chicken pox and polio may reappear if adequate care is not taken.
If you are not sure whether your childhood vaccinations are up to date, ask the doctor about getting a booster shot.
You may come into contact with the Hepatitis A virus through contaminated food or water in Papua New Guinea, and it is recommended generally that travellers get vaccinated against Hepatitis A before leaving home. Hepatitis A can be present for a long time before you notice, and symptoms may be easy to confuse with other illnesses. To read more about the virus and symptoms, prevention and related concerns, please visit the Hepatitis A information page.
Typhoid exists in Papua New Guinea and can be passed on through contaminated food or water. Please read the general information on this vaccine on the Typhoid information page. It is extremely likely you will need to be vaccinated against Typhoid if you are travelling to rural areas, visiting friends or relatives in Papua New Guinea, or if you are an adventurous eater. Please discuss your travel plans with the doctor for best advice.
Both Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations can be administered in one shot, and this lasts for a number of years once given. Ask the Travel Vaccination Clinic about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid, as well as taking food safety precautions.
Hepatitis B can be passed on to you if you meet a new partner in Papua New Guinea, get a tattoo or piercing or undergo other medical procedures. The disease can be contracted through sexual contact, or exposure to needles or bodily fluids. The vaccine is highly recommended for anyone who might undertake activities that put them at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. This includes avoiding medical procedures where equipment does not appear to be sterilized.
Malaria is transmitted to humans via mosquito bite, and is present in many areas of Papua New Guinea, which has a tropical climate and bodies of water were mosquitos breed. There are precautions you can take against mosquito bites such as using repellent, wearing long, loose clothing, using a mosquito net where possible and avoiding contact with flying insects. You should discuss these with the doctor during your appointment as other mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Japanese Encephalitis may also be present.
Yellow Fever risk in Papua New Guinea
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Papua New Guinea. You may be required to produce proof of Yellow Fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever infection however this does not often include short transits through the airport, for example. If you have any concerns about the destination you will be arriving from, speak to the doctor about this during your appointment. Be prepared to discuss your whole travel itinerary and how long you are spending in each destination.
Long term travel and vaccinations for Papua New Guinea
If your travels in Papua New Guinea will last longer than one month you may be recommended other vaccines, depending on what you plan to do, any work you are doing while in Papua New Guinea, your general health and planned activities. The following in particular may be recommended during your appointment with the doctor:
This vaccine may be given or recommended if you are visiting rural areas, staying outdoors or going camping/hiking while in Papua New Guinea. You should be able to determine whether or not you might be at risk of contracting Japanese Encephalitis while in Papua New Guinea by asking your doctor, or the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor during your appointment.
Papua New Guinea is not a rabies free country, and you may incidentally come into contact with dogs, bats, rats or other rabies carrying animals while travelling there. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about needing the preventive vaccine, or any concerns you have about this vaccine. Visit the Rabies information page for more.
Certain types of travellers are recommended to have the rabies vaccine, so if you are in one of these categories it is possible you will nee to get the rabies vaccine to ensure you are protected if you are bitten.
- Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving).
- People who will be working with or around animals
- People who are taking long trips or moving to Laos