Vaccinations for Sri Lanka

There are no compulsory vaccinations for Sri Lanka required by law for travellers from Western Europe to gain entry. However vaccinations for all travellers to Sri Lanka are strongley recommended.

For most short-term travellers the usual recommended vaccinations for Sri Lanka include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A. For those trekking in the Sri Lankan countryside or staying for longer periods then cover against Hepatitis B and Rabies should be considered.

Standard tourists should have their initial consultation for vaccinations for Sri Lanka at least 4 – 6 weeks in advance of departure. Those planning a more extensive trip or undertaking adventure sports should consider attending a consultation earlier.

Many tourists to Sri Lanka will stay within the south-western corner of the country or travel inland to Kandy. The incidence of foreign tourists developing Malaria after their time in Sri Lanka is very small. A decision on the requirement for Malaria Prophylaxis will need to be weighed against time of the year, locations to be visited and duration of the trip.

Sri Lanka is situated like a teardrop off the south-eastern tip of India close to the equator. The climate is fairly steady throughout the year with temperatures generally above 20c and a moderately high humidity throughout the year – especially along the coastal resorts. Most rainfall tends to fall during April, May and June and again during October and November. It will be important to ensure that the correct clothing is brought to cope with the climatic conditions.

Please note that each traveller will require a specialised consultation and this information only contains basic guidelines.

Disease Required Recommended All Travellers Optional
Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. This live vaccine is given on one occasion at least 10 days before travel (if at all possible) and provides life long cover in the majority of patients. - - - -
Poliomyelitis Poliomyelitis is a viral disease transmitted through oral/faecal contamination and the respiratory route. The vaccine is combined with cover against Tetanus and Diphtheria. Most travellers who have completed their primary course of childhood vaccines will only require a single booster dose to provide cover. Once completed it is expected that cover should last for 10 years. - - Poliomyelitis -
Tetanus Tetanus is contracted through contaminated cuts, bites and breaks in the skin. The vaccination provides cover for approximately 10 years in the majority of patients. It is frequently combined with cover against other diseases such as Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria and/or Pertussis. - - Tetanus -
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a common disease in many of the hotter regions of the world and usually contracted through contaminated food and water. Cover against Hepatitis A can be given alone or combined with protection against Typhoid or Hepatitis B. Once completed, the Hepatitis A vaccination (given on two occasions 6 to 12 months apart) provides cover for approximately 25 years in the majority of patients. - - Hepatitis A -
Typhoid Typhoid is a bacterial disease contracted through contaminated food and water. This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. Once completed, the Typhoid vaccination given on one occasion provides cover for between 2 to 3 years in the majority of patients - - Typhoid -
Hepatitis B Hepatitis B is a viral disease which is usually transmitted in a very similar fashion to HIV/AIDS through contact with infected body fluids (eg blood exposure and sexually). This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. The standard schedule for Hepatitis B is to administer the vaccine on days 0, 28 and 180. A more rapid schedule can be used in cases where cover is needed more urgently and this is administered on days 0, 7, 21 to 28 and also 365. Following either course (and not before completion) a blood test can be taken to confirm sufficient antibody protection. Where the correct level of antibodies are showing (>100iu) the vaccination is recognised to provide cover for life. - - - Hepatitis B
Rabies Rabies is a viral disease which is usually transmitted through the bite, the lick or the scratch of any infected warm blooded animal. The vaccine is usually administered on days 0, 7 and between 21 to 28. A final 4th vaccine is administered about 1 year later. Once a course is completed, the vaccination provides life long 'immune memory' in the majority of patients BUT after any possible exposure the individual always needs further vaccination to boost antibody production - - - Rabies
Meningococcal Meningitis Meningococcal Meningitis is a bacterial disease which is usually transmitted through the respiratory route. The vaccine is given on one occasion and provides cover against four of the main forms of this disease. Once a course is completed the vaccination provides for over 5 years in the majority of patients. - - - -
Cholera Cholera / E coli are both food / water borne diseases. This oral vaccine is given on two occasions between 1 to 6 weeks apart before travel. The second dose (frequently given one week after the initial one) should be administered 7 days before potential exposure. Once completed the cover against Cholera is expected to be for about 2 years. The cover against E coli is shorter and thought to be effective for between 3 to 4 months. In travellers who have completed an initial primary course within the past 2 years a single further dose is sufficient to maintain this cover. - - - Cholera
Diphtheria Diphtheria is a bacterial disease transmitted through the respiratory route and also through skin contact. The vaccine is combined with cover against Tetanus & Poliomyelitis or Tetanus & Pertussis and, in those who have completed their childhood vaccines, a single dose provides cover for 10 years. - - - -
Influenza Influenza is a viral disease transmitted through the respiratory route and is very infectious. The vaccine should be given each year in autumn and provides cover for approximately one year. - - - -
Japanese Encephalitis Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The Ixiaro vaccine is given on two occasions one month apart with a third dose at 12 months. Once completed the vaccine is thought to provide cover for between 2 to 3 years but possibly longer. - - - -
Tick Borne Encephalitis Tick Borne Encephalitis is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. The vaccine is given on two occasions one month apart and a further 3rd dose is given at 12 months. Once completed the vaccine provides cover for between 3 to 5 years. - - - -
Measles / Mumps / Rubella Measles / Mumps / Rubella are viral diseases transmitted mainly through coughs and sneezes (respiratory route). The vaccine is usually given during childhood schedules but coverage in adults can wane and so booster doses (on two occasions one month apart) can provide cover to approximately 95% receiving the vaccine. - - - -
Pertussis Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is a viral disease transmitted mainly through coughs and sneezes (respiratory route). The vaccine is usually given during childhood schedules but coverage in adults can wane and so a booster dose is frequently recommended during pregnancy (to protect the unborn child) and also in those over 50 years of age. - - - -
Malaria Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion.

Country Profile

Find out more about the health risks you should be aware of when travelling in Sri Lanka by reading the DFA Sri Lanka country information page
or the WHO Sri Lanka country information page.