Turkmenistan Travel Health Information

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

Page Sections

  1. Summary
  2. Medications
  3. Immunizations
  4. Other Infections
  5. Dehydration
  6. Food and Water
  7. General Advice
  8. Ambulance
  9. Medical Facilities
  10. Pharmacies
  11. Maps
  12. Embassy
  13. Safety Information
  14. Page Drop Box

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  • Summary You can't Edit

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    Summary of recommendations

    Most travelers to Turkmenistan will need vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and polio, as well as medications for travelers' diarrhea. All travelers should be up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria vaccination. 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:

    Tetanus-diphtheria For all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years.
    Hepatitis A Recommended for all travelers
    Typhoid Recommended for all travelers
    Polio One-time booster recommended for any adult traveler who completed the childhood series but never had polio vaccine as an adult
    Hepatitis B Recommended for all travelers
    Rabies For travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, or at high risk for animal bites, or involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats
    Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given
  • 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.

    Malaria in Turkmenistan: rare cases reported near the Afghanistan border, usually between June and October. Insect protection measures are advised for this area, but not malaria pills.

    For further information about malaria in Turkmenistan, including a map showing the risk of malaria in different parts of the country, go to the World Health Organization and the World Health Organization.

  • Immunizations You can't Edit

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    Immunizations

    The following are the recommended vaccinations for Turkmenistan:

    Tetanus - diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years. In the 1990s, a massive diphtheria epidemic occurred in the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union (see CR Vitek and M Wharton, Emerging Infectious Diseases).

    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. 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.

    Polio immunization is recommended for all travelers. Three cases of polio were reported in June 2010 from Lebap province, which borders Uzbekistan. Any adult who received the recommended childhood immunizations but never received a booster as an adult should be given a single dose of inactivated polio vaccine. All children should be up-to-date in their polio immunizations and any adult who never completed the initial series of immunizations should do so before departure. Side-effects are uncommon and may include pain at the injection site. Since inactivated polio vaccine includes trace amounts of streptomycin, neomycin and polymyxin B, individuals allergic to these antibiotics should not receive the vaccine.

    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.

    Rabies vaccine is recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, for travelers at high risk for animal bites, such as veterinarians and animal handlers, for long-term travelers and expatriates, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites. A complete preexposure series consists of three doses of vaccine injected into the deltoid muscle on days 0, 7, and 21 or 28. Side-effects may include pain at the injection site, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, dizziness, or allergic reactions.

    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, whether or not the person has been immunized against rabies.

    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.

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

  • Other Infections You can't Edit

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    Other infections

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis may be transmitted by sandflies.

    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.

  • Dehydration You can't Edit

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    Dehydration

    Be sure to drink plenty of fluids while visiting Turkmenistan. The climate is unusually hot and arid, with summer temperatures reaching 120-130 for weeks at a time. Perspiration evaporates very quickly, so you may lose more fluid and become dehydrated more quickly than you realize.

  • 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.

    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), and 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.

    See the Health Guidelines on the United States Embassy website for further information.

  • 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

    For a public ambulance in Turkmenistan, call 03. For a private ambulance, call Central Hospital (Turkish) at (993-12) 45-03-03; International Medical Center at (993-12) 48-90-06; 48-90-08; Central Hospital named after Turkmenbashi the Great at (993-12) 34-86-21; 34-87-17; or VIP Hospital at (993-12) 39-08-77; 35-57-16.

  • Medical Facilities You can't Edit

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    Medical facilities

    Medical care in Turkmenistan is extremely limited. There are shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. For a list of physicians in Turkmenistan, go to the U.S. Embassy website. For a medical emergency, English-speaking travelers may contact the Peace Corps medical unit at 35-46-31 from 9 AM to 5:30 PM. For after-hours emergencies, Turkmen and Russian speakers may contact the Central Hospital at 45-03-33 or the Niyazov Hospital (intensive care unit) at 43-19-16 or 43-25-12. 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. For a list of medical evacuation services, go to the U.S. Embassy website.

  • Pharmacies You can't Edit

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    Pharmacies

    Quality control of pharmaceuticals is limited. Medications which are commonly used in Western countries may be unavailable in Turkmenistan.

  • 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 or traveling in Turkmenistan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Turkmenistan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 9 Pushkin Street, off Magtymguly Street, tel. (993-12) 35-00-45; fax (993-12) 39-26-14. The Consular Section can also be contacted by e-mail at: consularashgab@state.gov. The Embassy's Internet address is http://turkmenistan.usembassy.gov/.

  • 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.

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