Lebanon Travel Health Information

Read below for travel health advice on Lebanon from the MDtravelhealth channel on Red Planet Travel.

Page Sections

  1. Summary
  2. Medications
  3. Immunizations
  4. Recent outbreaks of diseases
  5. Other Infections
  6. Food and Water
  7. General Advice
  8. Ambulance
  9. Medical Facilities
  10. Pharmacies
  11. Travel with children
  12. Travel and pregnancy
  13. Maps
  14. Embassy
  15. Safety Information
  16. Medical Associations
  17. Page Drop Box

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  • Summary You can't Edit

    1

    Summary of recommendations

    Most travelers to Lebanon will need vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid fever, as well as medications for travelers' diarrhea. Other immunizations may be necessary depending upon the circumstances of the trip and the medical history of the traveler, as discussed below. All travelers should visit either a travel health clinic or their personal physician 4-8 weeks before departure.

    Vaccinations:

    Hepatitis A Recommended for all travelers
    Typhoid For travelers who may eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels
    Yellow fever Required for all travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Not recommended otherwise.
    Hepatitis B Recommended for all travelers
    Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given
    Tetanus-diphtheria Revaccination recommended every 10 years
  • Medications You can't Edit

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    Medications

    Travelers' diarrhea is the most common travel-related ailment. The cornerstone of prevention is food and water precautions, as outlined below. All travelers should bring along an antibiotic and an antidiarrheal drug to be started promptly if significant diarrhea occurs, defined as three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24-hour period, especially if associated with nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool. A quinolone antibiotic is usually prescribed: either ciprofloxacin (Cipro)(PDF) 500 mg twice daily or levofloxacin (Levaquin) 500 mg once daily for a total of three days. Quinolones are generally well-tolerated, but occasionally cause sun sensitivity and should not be given to children, pregnant women, or anyone with a history of quinolone allergy. Alternative regimens include a three day course of rifaximin (Xifaxan) 200 mg three times daily or azithromycin (Zithromax) 500 mg once daily. Rifaximin should not be used by those with fever or bloody stools and is not approved for pregnant women or those under age 12. Azithromycin should be avoided in those allergic to erythromycin or related antibiotics. An antidiarrheal drug such as loperamide (Imodium) or diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken as needed to slow the frequency of stools, but not enough to stop the bowel movements completely. Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) and loperamide (Imodium) should not be given to children under age two.

    Most cases of travelers' diarrhea are mild and do not require either antibiotics or antidiarrheal drugs. Adequate fluid intake is essential.

    If diarrhea is severe or bloody, or if fever occurs with shaking chills, or if abdominal pain becomes marked, or if diarrhea persists for more than 72 hours, medical attention should be sought.

    Though effective, antibiotics are not recommended prophylactically (i.e. to prevent diarrhea before it occurs) because of the risk of adverse effects, though this approach may be warranted in special situations, such as immunocompromised travelers.

  • Immunizations You can't Edit

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    Immunizations

    The following are the recommended vaccinations for Lebanon:

    Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers over one year of age. It should be given at least two weeks (preferably four weeks or more) before departure. A booster should be given 6-12 months later to confer long-term immunity. Two vaccines are currently available in the United States: VAQTA (Merck and Co., Inc.) (PDF) and Havrix (GlaxoSmithKline) (PDF). Both are well-tolerated. Side-effects, which are generally mild, may include soreness at the injection site, headache, and malaise.

    Older adults, immunocompromised persons, and those with chronic liver disease or other chronic medical conditions who have less than two weeks before departure should receive a single intramuscular dose of immune globulin (0.02 mL/kg) at a separate anatomic injection site in addition to the initial dose of vaccine. Travelers who are less than one year of age or allergic to a vaccine component should receive a single intramuscular dose of immune globulin (see hepatitis A for dosage) in the place of vaccine.

    Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers, with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers. It is generally given in an oral form (Vivotif Berna) consisting of four capsules taken on alternate days until completed. The capsules should be kept refrigerated and taken with cool liquid. Side-effects are uncommon and may include abdominal discomfort, nausea, rash or hives. The alternative is an injectable polysaccharide vaccine (Typhim Vi; Aventis Pasteur Inc.) (PDF), given as a single dose. Adverse reactions, which are uncommon, may include discomfort at the injection site, fever and headache. The oral vaccine is approved for travelers at least six years old, whereas the injectable vaccine is approved for those over age two. There are no data concerning the safety of typhoid vaccine during pregnancy. The injectable vaccine (Typhim Vi) is probably preferable to the oral vaccine in pregnant and immunocompromised travelers.

    Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all travelers if not previously vaccinated. Two vaccines are currently licensed in the United States: Recombivax HB (Merck and Co., Inc.) (PDF) and Engerix-B (GlaxoSmithKline) (PDF). A full series consists of three intramuscular doses given at 0, 1 and 6 months. Engerix-B is also approved for administration at 0, 1, 2, and 12 months, which may be appropriate for travelers departing in less than 6 months. Side-effects are generally mild and may include discomfort at the injection site and low-grade fever. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) occur rarely.

    Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years.

    Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine: two doses are recommended (if not previously given) for all travelers born after 1956, unless blood tests show immunity. Many adults born after 1956 and before 1970 received only one vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella as children and should be given a second dose before travel. MMR vaccine should not be given to pregnant or severely immunocompromised individuals.

    Polio vaccine is not generally recommended for adult travelers who have completed the recommended childhood immunizations, since polio has not been reported from Lebanon for several years. A one-time booster of inactivated polio vaccine may be considered for extended travel to rural areas.

    Rabies vaccine is not generally recommended for Lebanon. No cases of rabies were reported for the year 2005. However, any animal bite or scratch should be thoroughly cleaned with large amounts of soap and water and local health authorities should be contacted immediately for possible post-exposure treatment.

    Cholera vaccine is not recommended. Cholera is not being reported from Lebanon at this time.

    Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise. Yellow fever vaccine (YF-VAX; Aventis Pasteur Inc.) (PDF) must be administered at an approved yellow fever vaccination center, which will give each vaccinee a fully validated International Certificate of Vaccination. Yellow fever vaccine should not in general be given to those younger than nine months of age, pregnant, immunocompromised, or allergic to eggs.

  • Recent outbreaks of diseases You can't Edit

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    Recent outbreaks

    A case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection was reported in May 2014 in a man who had recently returned from a visit to several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, where a MERS outbreak is ongoing. There does not appear to be any significant risk for travelers to Lebanon.

    An outbreak of typhoid fever was reported in November 2006 from south Lebanon, the southern suburbs of Beirut and the eastern Beqaa region. Typhoid cases are reported from Lebanon every year at the onset of the rainy season in October and the melting of the snows in March and April. As the water levels rise, contaminated water from the sewers comes up to ground level. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers to Lebanon, with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels.

  • Other Infections You can't Edit

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    Other infections

    HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection is reported, but travelers are not at risk unless they have unprotected sexual contacts or receive injections or blood transfusions.

  • Food and Water You can't Edit

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    Food and water precautions

    Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. Avoid cooked foods that are no longer piping hot. Cooked foods that have been left at room temperature are particularly hazardous. Avoid unpasteurized milk and any products that might have been made from unpasteurized milk, such as ice cream. Avoid food and beverages obtained from street vendors. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish. Some types of fish may contain poisonous biotoxins even when cooked. Barracuda in particular should never be eaten. Other fish that may contain toxins include red snapper, grouper, amberjack, and sea bass.

    All travelers should bring along an antibiotic and an antidiarrheal drug to be started promptly if significant diarrhea occurs, defined as three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24-hour period, especially if accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool. Antibiotics which have been shown to be effective include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), rifaximin (Xifaxan), or azithromycin (Zithromax). Either loperamide (Imodium) or diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken in addition to the antibiotic to reduce diarrhea and prevent dehydration.

    If diarrhea is severe or bloody, or if fever occurs with shaking chills, or if abdominal pain becomes marked, or if diarrhea persists for more than 72 hours, medical attention should be sought.

  • General Advice You can't Edit

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    General advice

    Bring adequate supplies of all medications in their original containers, clearly labeled. Carry a signed, dated letter from the primary physician describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to carry a physician's letter documenting their medical necessity.Pack all medications in hand luggage. Carry a duplicate supply in the checked luggage. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring an extra pair. If you have significant allergies or chronic medical problems, wear a medical alert bracelet.

    Make sure your health insurance covers you for medical expenses abroad. If not, supplemental insurance for overseas coverage, including possible evacuation, should be seriously considered. If illness occurs while abroad, medical expenses including evacuation may run to tens of thousands of dollars. For a list of travel insurance and air ambulance companies, go to Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad on the U.S. State Department website. Bring your insurance card, claim forms, and any other relevant insurance documents. Before departure, determine whether your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. The Medicare and Medicaid programs do not pay for medical services outside the United States.

    Pack a personal medical kit, customized for your trip (see description). Take appropriate measures to prevent motion sickness and jet lag, discussed elsewhere. On long flights, be sure to walk around the cabin, contract your leg muscles periodically, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent blood clots in the legs. For those at high risk for blood clots, consider wearing compression stockings.

    Avoid contact with stray dogs and other animals. If an animal bites or scratches you, clean the wound with large amounts of soap and water and contact local health authorities immediately. Wear sun block regularly when needed. Use condoms for all sexual encounters. Ride only in motor vehicles with seat belts. Do not ride on motorcycles.

  • Ambulance You can't Edit

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    Ambulance and Emergency Services

    Ambulance services in Lebanon are limited. Most are run by the Lebanese Red Cross Society (cellular 140; tel. (05) 924017/8/20).

  • Medical Facilities You can't Edit

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    Medical facilities

    Good medical care is generally available in Beirut and the surrounding areas, but may be difficult to locate in outlying areas. In Beirut, many expatriates go to the Executive Health and Travel Center at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (ph. 961 1 365168; website http://staff.aub.edu.lb/~webehtc). For an online list of physicians and dentists and hospitals in Lebanon, go to the U.S. Embassy website. Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance. Serious medical problems will require air evacuation to a country with state-of-the art medical facilities.

  • Pharmacies You can't Edit

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    Pharmacies

    Most pharmacies are well-supplied. In Beirut, the Pharmacie Millenium, located on the Antelias-Dbayeh highway, is open 24 hours a day year-round (mobile 961-3-915562).

  • Travel with children You can't Edit

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    Traveling with children

    Before you leave, make sure you have the names and contact information for physicians, clinics, and hospitals where you can obtain emergency medical care if needed (see the U.S. Embassy website).

    All children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children who are 12 months or older should receive a total of 2 doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, separated by at least 28 days, before international travel. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 months should be given a single dose of measles vaccine. MMR vaccine may be given if measles vaccine is not available, though immunization against mumps and rubella is not necessary before age one unless visiting a country where an outbreak is in progress. Children less than one year of age may also need to receive other immunizations ahead of schedule (see the accelerated immunization schedule).

    When traveling with young children, be particularly careful about what you allow them to eat and drink (see food and water precautions), because diarrhea can be especially dangerous in this age group and because the vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid fever, which are transmitted by contaminated food and water, are not approved for children under age two. Baby foods and cows' milk may not be available in developing nations. Only commercially bottled milk with a printed expiration date should be used. Young children should be kept well-hydrated and protected from the sun at all times.

    Be sure to pack a medical kit when traveling with children. In addition to the items listed for adults, bring along plenty of disposable diapers, cream for diaper rash, oral replacement salts, and appropriate antibiotics for common childhood infections, such as middle ear infections.

  • Travel and pregnancy You can't Edit

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    Travel and pregnancy

    International travel should be avoided by pregnant women with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or a history of complications during previous pregnancies, such as miscarriage or premature labor. For pregnant women in good health, the second trimester (18–24 weeks) is probably the safest time to go abroad and the third trimester the least safe, since it's far better not to have to deliver in a foreign country.

    Before departure, make sure you have the names and contact information for physicians, clinics, and hospitals where you can obtain emergency obstetric care if necessary (see the U.S. Embassy website). In general, pregnant women should avoid traveling to countries which do not have modern facilities for the management of premature labor and other complications of pregnancy.

    Strict attention to food and water precautions is especially important for the pregnant traveler because some infections, such as listeriosis, have grave consequences for the developing fetus. Additionally, many of the medications used to treat travelers' diarrhea may not be given during pregnancy. Quinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin), should not be given because of concern they might interfere with fetal joint development. Data are limited concerning trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, but the drug should probably be avoided during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. Options for treating travelers' diarrhea in pregnant women include azithromycin and third-generation cephalosporins. For symptomatic relief, the combination of kaolin and pectin (Kaopectate; Donnagel) appears to be safe, but loperamide (Imodium) should be used only when necessary. Adequate fluid intake is essential.

  • Maps You can't Edit

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    Maps

    Helpful maps are available in the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Collection and the United Nations map library. If you have the name of the town or city you'll be visiting and need to know which state or province it's in, you might find your answer in the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.

  • Embassy You can't Edit

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    Embassy/Consulate Location

    (reproduced from the U.S. State Dept. Consular Information Sheet)

    Americans living in or visiting Lebanon are advised to register with the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and obtain updated information on travel and security within Lebanon. Visitors should forward by fax or by mail their travel itineraries, contact numbers, and copies of the information pages of their passports. Restrictions continue on the movement of U.S. Embassy employees for security reasons. Therefore, assistance in emergency cases such as arrests or deaths may not always be provided in a timely manner.

    The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, P.O. Box 70-840, Beirut, Lebanon. The telephone numbers are [961] (4) 542-600, 543-600, 544-310, 544-130, and 544-140. The Consular fax is [961] (4) 544-209. The American Citizen Services office is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until ll:00 a.m. and the Federal Benefits Unit is open from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Public inquiries are answered from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please check the U.S. Embassy home page for up-to-date information on hours and services. Those who wish to receive warden messages by e-mail via a free subscriber service may send a request to join-wardenmessagebeirut@mh.databack.com.

  • Safety Information You can't Edit

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    Safety information

    For information on safety and security, go to the U.S. Department of State, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign Affairs Canada, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • Medical Associations You can't Edit

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    The American Lebanese Medical Association *Alma Mater is an American-Lebanese organisation whose role is to foster the creation and development of academic institutions and health care facilities of excellence in Medicine and Surgery in Lebanon. http://www.almamater.org/

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