Latest travel advice

Our latest travel advice aims to inform you about diseases and current disease outbreaks in specific areas or countries.

The tense political situation in Venezuela, and the resulting deterioration of its public health system, has caused a reduction in vaccination coverage in the country and thus an increased risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases. There is currently an outbreak of measles in Venezuela (source: RIVM).

LCR advice

All travellers to Venezuela who have not previously been vaccinated against measles or have not yet had the disease, are advised to get an (early) MMR vaccination.

Since August 2017 there has been an outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar. The risk to travellers has been estimated to be very low. The WHO has advised travellers not to use antibiotics to treat pneumonic plague without first consulting a doctor. The WHO has also warned travellers of the risk of contracting malaria in Madagascar. It is important that travellers use anti-mosquito measures and malaria chemoprophylaxis. The plague is commonly caused by bacteria transmitted by the bites of fleas that live on rats. There are three types of plague: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicaemic infections caused by the disease. Bubonic plague starts with a fever, headache and cold chills, followed by very painful swellings or bumps. Pneumonic plague is the most virulent form of the plague and it can be transmitted from person to person through coughing. Its symptoms are similar to chronic pneumonia. If untreated the plague can often be fatal.

LCR advice

The LCR (Netherlands’ National Coordination Centre for Travel Advice) has echoed the advice given by the WHO: travellers to Madagascar are advised to avoid busy places and any contact with sick persons and dead animals. The disease can easily be treated, but it’s important to immediately consult a doctor if you develop a fever, painful bumps or experience shortness of breath accompanied by coughing. The use of anti-mosquito measures, such as smearing your skin with DEET, will also help protect you against flea bites.

Hurricane Irma has caused major damage to several Caribbean islands. For the official travel advice for the affected areas, see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. First aid workers to the affected areas receive additional advice. Make an appointment at one of our Travel Clinics.

The zika virus is transmitted by mosquito bites and has spread to several regions in Latin America since May 2015. Generally speaking, the zika virus does not make adults seriously ill, but in the case of unborn children there is a link between the virus and birth defects. Since the initial outbreak in Latin America, it has become clear that pregnant women form the main risk group for the zika virus infection. Pregnant women are susceptible to infectious diseases, so the potential risks associated with any journey must always be properly evaluated. In addition to the zika virus, this also applies to other diseases, such as malaria or yellow fever, for example.

LCR advice

Zika virus infection in Latin America

  • Pregnant women are advised not to travel to regions in Latin America.
  • Women with a pregnancy wish are advised to postpone efforts to become pregnant till one month after returning from Latin America. Condoms should be used during that month after return.
  • If the male partner also travelled, it’s best to use a condom for two months after returning. This is because the virus can survive longer in sperm.

Zika virus infection in Africa and Asia

There is a slight chance of contracting the zika virus infection in Africa and Asia. Pregnant women and couples who are trying for a baby must decide for themselves whether they want to run this slight risk. If they are adamant that they don’t want to run any risk, then the advice for travelling to Latin America also applies. Always be meticulous in your use of mosquito-repellent measures, such as DEET products and mosquito nets. Read more about the zika virus.

Previously, the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia indicated on its website that the validity of the conjugate meningococcal ACW135Y vaccine for obtaining a visa had been changed from three years to eight. However, this has now been changed by the Ministry of Health to five years. This means that your vaccination certificate must show that the conjugate vaccine was administered no more than five years ago, but at least 10 days before your arrival in Saudi Arabia.

LCR (Netherlands’ National Coordination Centre for Travel) advice

The conjugate meningococcal ACW135Y vaccine, which is mandatory for people travelling to Mecca, is valid for five years.

In Europe the availability of the hepatitis A vaccine is limited, which is why the LCR  (Netherlands’ National Coordination Centre for Travel Advice) has temporarily amended the guidelines for giving the hepatitis A vaccine. At the moment KLM Health Services has some stock of the vaccine and, in providing travel advice, now follows the guidelines of the LCR. However, due to its limited availability, the vaccine is being used as effectively as possible, only for those travellers who run the greatest risk.

Amendments

  • Inoculation against hepatitis A comprises a series of two or three vaccines. The first of these offers protection for a minimum of one year, but probably for three years. This is why, for the time being, the second vaccine is not recommended if the first vaccine was given less than three years ago.
  • Regarding the combined hepatitis A and B vaccine, generally speaking, two vaccines are given for a journey. However, in view of the fact that most travellers will be adequately protected against hepatitis A after just one vaccination, the second vaccination has been postponed until stocks in the Netherlands are again sufficient.
  • To prevent the contraction of hepatitis A and B, additional emphasis is being placed on hygiene and other preventative measures.

It is expected that the hepatitis A vaccine will be more freely available again in the Netherlands during the course of 2018.

03-31-2017: Due to a yellow fever outbreak, yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for all travellers to Suriname.

Popular and sunny countries such as Croatia, Turkey and Morocco are ideal destinations to spend your summer holiday. These destinations are often booked last minute, for example when the Dutch weather disappoints. Often, it is not considered that infectious diseases such as Jaundice (Hepatitis A) still prevail in these countries. A vaccination protects you. Please prepare your journey well and check our Travel advice by destination.

Since March 12, 2017, cases of malaria have been reported in South Africa, in areas where malaria is not usually transmitted. This is the case in areas of the Limpopo Province, North West Province, and Gauteng Province. If you (plan to) visit areas in these provinces where malaria is not usually found, please take anti-mosquito measures. In case of a fever that lasts longer than 24 hours, malaria must be excluded. This is the case until at least one month after returning home.

Different types of avian flu (also known as bird flu) still exist in several parts of Asia, including Indonesia and China. Some of these types of flu can be serious – or even fatal. People predominantly get bird flu through close contact with infected birds (waterfowl, poultry). People who contract bird flu are almost always local inhabitants who have close contact with poultry. Travellers rarely get bird flu. Nevertheless, travellers to Southeast Asia and the Far East are advised to avoid contact with poultry and other birds, to not visit any markets where these animals are traded, and to make sure that food containing poultry or eggs is properly processed and heated through and through. Furthermore, it is strictly forbidden to bring back animals and said food products to the Netherlands (!)

Since September 2012, there has been an outbreak of a new type of coronavirus, named Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (in short: MERS-CoV). Coronaviruses can cause respiratory infection. An infection with MERS-CoV can cause severe pneumonia that may be accompanied by other, milder symptoms. So far, 1,179 cases of infection have been reported worldwide, the majority of which by Saudi Arabia. Most other reported patients were infected in Middle Eastern countries. Up until now, 442 people have died, often elderly and people suffering from chronic conditions and/or immune system disorders. It is not yet entirely clear how people contract the virus, however it is suspected that dromedary camels in the Middle East carry and transfer MERS-CoV. Transfer from human to human is rare, but infections have occurred in hospitals. This is often attributable to insufficient application of hygiene measures.

Outbreak in South Korea

Currently an outbreak of MERS is reported in South Korea with a total number of 30 confirmed cases, two of which were fatal. The outbreak is related to the Middle East, since its first patient contracted the disease while visiting Bahrain. The patient transmitted the virus to some others in a few hospitals. To contain the outbreak some 700 people who may have had contact with an infected person have been tracked down and are now kept under observation by the government.

Advice for travellers

People with chronic conditions or a reduced resistance are advised to avoid contact with dromedary camels and other animals in regions that have reported cases of MERS infection. We advise all travellers to observe general hygiene measures: wash your hands frequently, especially after visiting the toilet, before you eating and after contact with animals. All travellers are recommended not to have contact with sick animals and not to eat or drink raw animal products in the regions concerned. If you have any questions, please call our special vaccination advice line, via: 0900 1091 096. We are happy to help you personally.

Travel advice Foreign Affairs

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice helps you prepare for safety risks during your stay abroad. The advice, for example, tells you which regions are safe and to which regions you should not travel. Sometimes there are security risks. If this is the case, please be alert or, preferably, only travel to the country concerned if genuinely necessary. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a new central telephone number for travellers, which can be reached 24/7. Please call: +31247247247.