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General Map

General map of Antarctica

Medical Summary

The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).

General Information

Antarctica is a largely uninhabitable continent located at the south pole. One of the least hospitable places on Earth, Antarctica is 98% covered by snow and ice.

Immunizations

Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, or measles, mumps, rubella. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.

Malaria

See also: Library article for Malaria

The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)

No statement given.

CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)

Areas with malaria: None.
Drug resistance: Not applicable.

Other Concerns

Travelers' Diarrhea

See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea

Travelers' diarrhea is not a destination-related consideration for Antarctica because food and beverage suppliers do not exist. The safety of food and beverages depends on the traveler and/or the entity providing transportation.

Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.

Other Disease and Health Risks

Additional concerns include environment and transportation.

Consular Advice

The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.

Terrorism Risk

No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.

Crime

Negligible risk of violent crime exists throughout the country.

Other Safety Threats

The greatest threats to travelers to Antarctica are environmental hazards.

Any travel that is not part of an international scientific expedition or organized through a recognized tour operator is strongly discouraged because of its potential harmful impact on the environment and the lack of emergency facilities.

Transportation Safety

National incidence data on traffic-related injury or death are not available.

Natural Disasters

The continent is extremely cold, dry, and windy; conditions can change rapidly. The continent is inaccessible from March through October.