Guatemala (Central America)Advice for All Destinations Immunisations Malaria Malaria Map Other Health Risks Notice Board News
Advice for All Destinations
If you're planning to travel outside the UK, your travel health needs will depend on your individual situation, including:
- your destination
- how long you'll stay
- what you’ll be doing
- your general health
Ideally consult with your travel healthcare practitioner 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. If your trip is sooner, contact them anyway, they may still be able to help and its never too late to seek advice.
Many of the health problems experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccinations and other measures need to be taken. These include food and water safety, accident prevention, care with sun exposure, avoiding insect bites and animal bites, and practicing good respiratory hygiene.
If you will be travelling with medication (including over the counter medication) you should check for any restrictions on medications before you travel, you can do this by contacting the embassy of the country you're visiting.
A worldwide list of travel clinics, run by members of the International Society of Travel Medicine is available on their website
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
- Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Rabies; Typhoid.
- Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Hepatitis B.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 1 year or over arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Diphtheria:  spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route.
Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation is poor.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs.
spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse.
Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who change partners frequently; people who inject drugs.
- Rabies:  spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, and also cats and bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children.All travellers should avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic) particularly dogs and cats. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
- Tetanus:  spread 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.
- Typhoid:  spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
Malaria precautionsMalaria Map
- Malaria risk is low throughout the year in all areas below 1500m, including Guatemala city, Antigua city and lake Atitlan. Most cases occur in Escuintla and Alta Verapaz.
- 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.
- See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
- Low to no risk: 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.
Other Health Risks
Altitude and TravelThis country has either areas with high altitude (2400m or more) or/and areas with very high altitude (3658m or more). Travellers who may go into areas of high altitude should take care to avoid ill effects of being at altitude including Acute Mountain Sickness, a potentially life-threatening condition. For further information see Altitude and Travel.
Dengue FeverA 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.
This country has been categorised as having a risk of Zika (ZIKV) virus transmission.
ZIKV 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.
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 advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel.
- Pregnant women are advised to consider postponing non-essential travel.
- Those planning pregnancy, or where there is a risk of pregnancy should avoid the risk of ZIKV in pregnancy and sexual transmission of ZIKV by the use of contraception and condoms during travel and for:
• 2 months afterwards if female
• 3 months afterwards if male
For further information, see Zika virus infection page.