National Services Scotland logo

fitfortravel

Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

French Guiana (South America)

Advice for All Destinations Immunisations Malaria Malaria Map Other Health Risks Notice Board News

Advice for All Destinations

The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.

Measles occurs worldwide and is common in developing countries. The pre-travel consultation is a good opportunity to check that you are immune, either by previous immunisation or natural measles infection.

Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation. UK travellers visiting other European Union countries should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries. Online applicationsLink normally arrive within seven days. Applications may also be made by telephone on 0300 330 1350 or by post using the form which can be downloaded from the websiteLink

For Travel Safety Advice you should visit the UK Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeLink website.

A worldwide list of clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel MedicineLink is available on the ISTM website.

Immunisations

  • Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
  • Courses or boosters usually advised:   Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Yellow Fever.
  • Other vaccines to consider:   Hepatitis B; Typhoid.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for all travellers over 1 year of age.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above

  • Hepatitis Aspread  through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
  • Hepatitis Bspread  through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
  • Tetanusspread  through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
  • Typhoidspread  mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
  • Yellow Feverspread  by the bite of an infected, day-biting mosquito. The disease is mainly found in rural areas but outbreaks in urban areas do occur. Vaccination is usually recommended for those who travel into risk areas. View yellow fever risk areas here. Some travellers may require vaccination for certificate purposes.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.

Malaria precautions

Malaria Map
  • Malaria risk is present throughout the year. Risk is highest in the municipalities of Camopi, Saint Georges and Regina bordering Brazil and along the major rivers of the country. In Cayenne, Iracoubo, Kourou, Montsinery Tonnegrande, Ouanary, Saite-Elie and Sinnamary there is low to no risk.
  • In all other areas risk is not high enough to warrant chemoprophylaxis for most travellers, however, it may be considered for certain groups who may be at higher risk (see below under Low risk with additional advice).
  • Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
  • See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
  • High risk areas:atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually advised for those visiting risk areas.
  • Low risk with additional advice: antimalarial tablets are not usually recommended, however, they can be considered for certain travellers who may be at higher risk e.g. longer stay in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression or those without a spleen. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is advised for those at risk.
  • Low to no risk areas: antimalarial tablets are not usually advised.
  • If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby medication may be considered.

Other Health Risks

Dengue Fever

A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain - hence its other name 'breakbone fever'. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites.  For further information see Dengue Fever.

Notice Board

Zika (ZIKV) virus infection is mainly spread through mosquito bites. The mosquito responsible most commonly bites during daylight hours and is abundant in urban settings. There is a low risk of sexual transmission.

The illness itself is usually mild but there is a link between infection during pregnancy and babies being born with birth defects. There is no vaccine currently available against ZIKV.

This country has been categorised as having a high or moderate risk of ZIKV. Check risk category hereIcon Newwindow

Advice for All Travellers

  • All travellers should practice strict mosquito bite avoidance, at all times.
  • Do not travel without adequate travel insurance.
  • Seek pre-travel health advance from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel.
  • Look at the additional advice on the ZIKV Infection page, which includes how to avoid sexual transmission of ZIKV.

Advice for Pregnant Travellers or Those Planning Pregnancy

If High Risk country - pregnant women are advised to postpone non-essential travel.

If Moderate Risk country - pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel.

back to top