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Medical and Pharmaceutical

1. Call 911 in Australia?

The emergency 24-hour phone number for an ambulance is 000.


2. Recommended Vaccinations for American Travelers.

* Booster shots: As needed, booster shots for tetanus, diphteria, measles, chickenpox and polio.

* Hepatitis B: As needed, especially if you may be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health care workers), have sexual relations with the local people or undergo medical procedures.


3. Disease and Illness Risks in Australia.

In Australia you should take the same health precautions that you would take within the United States. Vaccine rates are high in Australia. Food and tap water are safe. Contaminated food and untreated water can make you sick, just as they can in the United States. Insect, especially mosquitoe, tick, spider and snake bites can cause various illnesses. To track disease outbreaks around Australia, visit and click on Australia.

* Japanese encephalitis: rare transmissions, spread by mosquitoes, have been documented on the islands of the Torres Straits.

* Typhoid: no risk.

* Dengue Fever: very low risk in northeast of Australia.

* Malaria: very low risk in tropical areas.

* Cholera: no risk.

* HIV/AIDS: rates in Australia are similar to those in the U.S.

* Avian Flu: no U.S. Government travel alert issued for Australia.


4. Basic Health Tips.

* Bring and apply insect repellant.

* Bring and apply sunscreen, use sunglasses and hat for protection from harmful effects of sun. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

* Bring your prescription medicines along with copies of your prescriptions.

* Take precautions when traveling in remote desert and tropical areas.

   - Protect against heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Carry enough water for any trip, including extra in case of emergency.

   - Always let someone know of your route and destination, including date of arrival.

   - Carry communications gear.

   - Bring along a comprehensive first-aid kit.


5. Health Insurance.

Make sure your health insurance policy covers your medical expenses in Australia. If not, obtain supplemental travel health insurance for coverage in Australia, including evacuation back to the United States.

Bring your health insurance card and a claim form with you. Before departure, determine whether your policy will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for expenditures incurred out there. The U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not pay for medical services outside the U.S.

For a list of travel insurance and air ambulance companies, check the U.S. State Department website on Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad. One place to shop is, a website that offers rates from 16 travel insurers, including Access America, AIG, CSA, Lloyd's, Travel Insured and Travelex. Another is Squaremouth at Also, private insurance for American visitors to Australia is available from registered health organizations, insurance brokers and general insurers located in Australia. To obtain more information about this option, consult the website of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aging.


6. Health Care.

Australia has a modern medical system on par with the United States. It has public and private hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers featuring state-of-the-art technologies and labs. Routine and non-emergency care is handled by general practitioners who can refer cases, if necessary, to specialists and surgeons. Most physicians and hospitals expect immediate cash/credit card payment for services.

For more information on physicans in Australia that you may need to consult, the reference is "Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists" published for the American Board of Medical Specialists and its certifying member boards. The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Australia maintain lists of hospitals and physicians.

The emergency 24-hour phone number to call for an ambulance in Australia is 000. Most major urban areas have emergency phone contacts for: poison, domestic violence, dental, HIV/AIDS and mental health.


For more information on health care for U.S. travelers to Australia, a good place to start is the website of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the U.S. State Department website on Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad.

Disclaimer: This website page is not a complete medical guide for U.S. travelers to Australia. Check with your doctor for information related to your personal medical conditions. Australia Today assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of any health care provider listed on tis website page.


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