Disease Risks and Precautions
in the Middle East

The material provided below is for informational purposes only.
It may not be current, and it should not be considered definitive.

All travelers should check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website
for the most current disease risk and disease prevention information.


Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen


The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in the Middle East depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. However, in highly developed areas of Israel, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.



Travelers' diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.



Malaria is a preventable infection that can be fatal if left untreated. Prevent infection by taking prescription antimalarial drugs and protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below). A low risk for malaria exists in parts of Iran, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Travelers to rural Iran and all areas of Oman should take mefloquine for malaria prevention; travelers to other risk areas should take chloroquine. For specific locations, see Malaria Information for Travelers to the Middle East.



A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries, but only if you are coming from a country in tropical South America or sub-Saharan Africa. (There is no risk for yellow fever in the Middle East.) For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements.



Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.



CDC Recommends the Following Vaccines (as Appropriate for Age):

See your doctor at least 4­6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment. Meningococcal vaccine is required for pilgrims to Mecca for the annual Hajj. However, CDC currently recommends the vaccine for all travelers to Mecca, including those traveling for the Umra. (For more information, please see Meningococcal Disease Among Travelers to Saudi Arabia.) Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation. Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11­12 years who have not completed the series.

Disease risks and precautions