Sri Lanka Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Diphtheria

Sometimes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Sometimes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No*

Hepatitis B

Yes

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from an infected area.

Treatment is free at government hospitals and dispensaries whilst 24-hour treatment is available at Colombo National Hospital. Some hotels also have doctors. However the quality of healthcare varies widely across the country, and in the more rural areas, can be rather rudimentary compared to Western standards. Visitors are advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance before travelling. To call an ambulance in an emergency, dial 110.

Food and drink

All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised, whilst bottled water and a variety of mineral waters are available at most hotels. Unpasteurised milk should be boiled, and if possible powdered or tinned milk is advised; these are generally available in Sri Lanka. Pasteurised and sterilised milk is available in some hotels and shops. Avoid dairy products made using unboiled milk. Beware of eating salads - vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled, and all should be washed in sterilised water. Street food in Sri Lanka is ubiquitous but use your judgement wisely and only eat well-cooked meat and fish, that have not been left sitting out.

Other risks

Vaccinations against Japanese B encephalitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. There is low incidence malaria throughout Sri Lanka, with the most northern parts being slightly more at risk from outbreaks. Anti-malarials are generally not needed.

Edited by Jane Duru
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