Cambodia Health Care and Vaccinations
* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travellers arriving within 10 days from infected areas.
Health insurance, including emergency evacuation, is absolutely essential. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payments for any medical treatment. The cost of medical evacuation is high. The hospital in Phnom Penh is reliable. Visitors should bring adequate supplies of any essential personal medication, since particular medications may not be available in Cambodia.
Food and drink
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Boil or sterilise water for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice. Bottled water is widely available. Milk is also unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is an advisable alternative to fresh produce. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
When travelling on the wild side go with a reliable and experienced guide. Though tens of thousands have been removed, there are still landmines left over from years of war. There are still an estimated 4m undetonated mines in the country. As a result of the continual mine problem Cambodia has approximately 40,000 amputees, victims of unexploded ordinances. Supposedly, the Cambodian government spends around $30m each year on demining operations.
Drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, opium, cocaine and heroin are readily available in Cambodia, but drugs penalties are harsh, and being a foreigner will not give you any protection. Also overdoses are rife, it’s common for dealers to cut drugs with poisonous substance and simply swap cocaine orders with heroin (as heroin is much cheaper).
Cholera may be a serious risk in this country and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination.
It is advisable to take anti-malarials if you are travelling to affected areas. It is possible to buy anti-malarials at pharmacies in the larger cities. However, depending on the brand you may need to start the course before you arrive in a malaria zone, so it’s advisable to purchase anti malarials before you travel. Be aware that resistance to anti-malarial Lariam has been reported in Cambodia. Affected areas include Kapot, Sihanoukville, Piopet and Stung Treng, plus others whilst there is little risk of malaria in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.
Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Giardiasis, dysentery, typhoid fever and dengue feverare common throughout Cambodia. Dengue fever is particularly prevalent in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kompong Thom and Siem Reap. Hepatitis Bis hyperendemic. Japanese encephalitisoccurs in rural areas from May to November, and is relatively common in the highlands where there are rice fields and pigs, as both are needed for the disease to occur. The vaccine is only usually given for people travelling in rural areas for four weeks or more.
Epidemics of avian influenza (bird flu) were reported in Asia in 2004 and again in 2005, and some human cases were confirmed. The last confirmed cases were in 2012, there were three. Visitors should avoid bird farms or markets, where contact with poultry might occur. HIV/AIDS is endemic and safe sex practices are essential.