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).
Iraq is a developing nation classified as upper middle income. Located in the Middle East (north of Saudi Arabia and south of Syria), the climate is classified as predominantly dry (arid).
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
Although yellow fever does not occur in Iraq, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate (recognition of lifetime validity is uncertain) is required for travelers aged ≥ 9 months coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. This also applies to airport transit stops (no exit through immigration checkpoint) longer than 12 hours in risk countries.
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, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, typhoid fever, or a one time polio booster if you haven't previously received one for travel. 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)(2018) Limited Malaria risk due exclusively to P. vivax may exist from May through November in areas in the north below 1500 m (Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniya provinces). No indigenous cases have been reported since 2009.
- Recommended prevention in risk areas: None
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: None.
Drug resistance: Not applicable.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
Moderate 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.
Other Food-Borne Illnesses
Precautions to prevent brucellosis may be needed.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Leishmaniasis may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.
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 terrorism, kidnapping, and other ongoing security concerns, U.S. (DOS), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise avoiding all travel to this country. U.K. (FCO) has a more limited warning.
High risk of attack by domestic and transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in Baghdad. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
High risk of kidnapping by terrorist groups exists throughout the country. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
High risk of violent crime (armed robbery, sexual assault, carjacking, gang-related violence, and murder) and high risk of petty crime exist throughout the country.
Theft of valuables from unattended accommodations is common.
Kidnappings by criminal groups occur throughout the country. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
Protests and demonstrations frequently occur throughout the country, including Baghdad, and have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities. Disruption to transportation, free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.
Armed conflict and territorial disputes may occur and military presence may exist in the Kurdistan Region.
A dangerous security environment and unmarked boundaries may exist in the Kurdistan Region and in areas bordering Syria and Turkey.
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 less than 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.
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.
Public buses and rail services do not meet international safety standards (due to unsafe vehicles and poor maintenance).
Due to security concerns, travel on roads throughout the country is unsafe. Avoid road travel outside of urban areas after dark.
Sandstorms and dust storms frequently occur.
Seasonal flooding occurs.
Extreme heat (which can lead to heat-related illness) occurs from July through September.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Iraq
- United States: [+964] 0760-030-3000; iq.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+964] 782-783-5084; international.gc.ca/world-monde/iraq-irak/baghdad-bagdad
- United Kingdom: [+964] 7901-926-280; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-baghdad
- Australia: [+964] 780-923-7565; iraq.embassy.gov.au
Iraq's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.iraqiembassy.us
- In Canada: www.mofamission.gov.iq/en/CanadaOt
- In the U.K.: www.mofamission.gov.iq/en/UKLondon
- In Australia: www.mofamission.gov.iq/en/AustCan
HIV and hepatitis testing are required to obtain a work or residence visa. Travelers, including short-term travelers, may be detained or deported after arrival if found to be positive for HIV or hepatitis.