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).
Burma is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located in Southeast Asia between India and Thailand on both the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, its climate is tropical monsoon.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
Although yellow fever does not occur in Burma, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. Note: This applies to airport layovers longer than 12 hours in these countries. Also required for nationals and residents of Burma on their departure to an area with risk of YF transmission.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
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)(2015) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in remote rural, hilly and forested areas of the country as well as in some coastal areas in Rahkine State. There is no transmission in cities and urban areas. The central plains and the dry zone are generally free of malaria but some pockets of transmission still exist. Mefloquine resistance reported in Kayin State and the eastern part of Shan State. Emerging artemisinin resistance suspected in south-eastern Myanmar. P. vivax resistance to chloroquine reported. Human P. knowlesi infection reported.
- Recommended prevention in risk areas: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
- Recommended prevention in south-eastern Myanmar: D – Risk of P. falciparum malaria in combination with reported multidrug resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a,b
aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).
bIn certain areas with multidrug–resistant malaria, mefloquine chemoprophylaxis is no longer recommended. At present these areas include Cambodia, Thailand, and south-eastern Myanmar.
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: Present at altitudes < 1,000 m (3,281 ft), including Bagan. Rare transmission above 1,000 m.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Moderate.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine and mefloquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum 60%, P. vivax 35%, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi rare.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: In the provinces of Bago, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Shan, and Tanintharyi below 1,000 m (3,281 ft): Atovaquone-proguanil or doxycycline.
All other areas with malaria: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Above 1,000 m (3,281 ft): Mosquito avoidance only.
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
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.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Other Disease and Health Risks
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.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to military conflict, ethnic tensions, and other ongoing security concerns, Canada (GAC) advises avoiding travel to areas bordering China, Laos, and Thailand and advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to Rakhine (except resort areas at Ngapali Beach and travel to and from Ngapali via Thandwe Airport), Kachin, and northern Shan states. U.S. (DOS), U.K. (FCO), and Australia (DFAT) have more limited warnings.
High risk of attack by transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, including Yangon (Rangoon). Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
Low risk of violent crime (armed robbery) and risk of petty crime exist throughout the country.
Scams involving gems have been reported.
Armed conflict occurs in Rakhine State, northern areas of Shan State (especially in the historic region of Kokang), and in areas bordering China (especially in Kachin State), Thailand, India, and Laos.
Landmines and other unexploded ordnance are present in Rakhine State and in areas bordering China, Thailand, and Laos.
Restricted areas exist in areas bordering China, Thailand, and Laos.
Passenger boats may be unsafe, including ferries on rivers. Decline water transportation in vessels that appear overloaded or lack personal flotation devices or life jackets.
High risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is 12 to 24 per 100,000 population. The rate is < 10 in most high-income countries. Speed laws are poorly enforced. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
Many taxis are unsafe. Use taxis from official ranks or dispatched via smart phone app or radio from a reputable company. Ascertain the license or identification number of the dispatched vehicle.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
The cyclone season is from April through October. The monsoon season is from May through October in southwestern areas and from December through April in northeastern areas. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Seismic activity frequently occurs.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Burma
- United States: [+95] 1-536-509; mm.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+95] 1-384-805; international.gc.ca/world-monde/myanmar/yangon
- United Kingdom: [+95] 1- 370865; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-rangoon
- Australia: [+95] 1-230-7410; myanmar.embassy.gov.au
Burma's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.mewashingtondc.org
- In Canada: [+1] 613-232-9990
- In the U.K.: www.londonmyanmarembassy.com
- In Australia.: www.mecanberra.com.au
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.