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Before You Go: Traveler Healthcare in Jordan

Water-& Food-Borne Disease Warning

Jordan’s healthcare facilities vary in quality, especially outside of major cities. Most doctors speak both English and Arabic, though English may be more limited in rural regions. Major hotels typically have an on-call doctor, and your embassy can also make medical referrals.

Various infectious diseases are common in Jordan, and serious outbreaks sometimes occur.

Drinking Water: Tap water at hotels that have ratings of at least 3 stars in Jordan is considered safe to drink, as the hotels have their own water filtering systems. It’s a good idea to avoid drinking or brushing your teeth with tap water, or ordering drinks with ice if you’re staying elsewherei. You can also find bottled water at shops and supermarkets.

Food Safety: Be wary of street food, and limit yourself to meat, poultry, fish and vegetables that have been well-cooked. Always wash and peel fruit.

Swimming: Don’t swim Jordan’s lakes or rivers. Even a quick dip may put you at risk of water-borne diseases like schistosomiasis. You can swim in chlorinated pools and in the ocean.

Sun & Heat Conditions: Try not to stay out in the heat and sun for prolonged periods, especially in the late morning to early afternoon. Prevent dehydration by drinking a lot of fluids, and taking rehydration mixes if necessary. Apply sunscreen often and consider wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

MERS: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, also called MERS-CoV and camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection. It can be transmitted through the air, usually by coughing. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea. At the time of posting, there’s no commercially available vaccination against MERS.

You can lower your risk of contracting MERS by frequent handwashing with soap.

Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus you can get from contaminated food and beverages. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and joint pain.

Hepatitis A vaccinations are routinely given as part of the childhood immunization regime, but you should consult with your doctor to make sure you are properly protected before you go.

Typhoid: Typhoid is a bacterial illness you can get from contaminated food and beverages. Symptoms include a high fever, abdominal pain, weakness, headaches, constipation and a skin rash.

Be sure to consult with a doctor about considering a typhoid vaccination before you leave.

Measles: Measles, or Rubeola, is a highly contagious viral infection. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes, followed by spots in the mouth and a skin rash.

Measles vaccinations are routinely given as part of the childhood immunization regime, but you should consult with your doctor to make sure you are properly protected before you go.

Brucellosis: Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that is typically transmitted by eating undercooked meat or unpasteurized dairy products. Symptoms include fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and sweating.

Sand Fly Fever: Sand Fly Fever, or leishmaniasis, is prevalent in Jordan. Sand Fly Fever is a parasitic infection transmitted by sand fly bites. Symptoms include sores and a fever.

You can help to protect yourself by staying in well-screened or air conditioned rooms from dusk until dawn, when the sand flies are most active. You can also wear long pants, shirts and socks, and use an insect repellent containing DEET.

Schistosomiasis: Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a parasitic infection transmitted through water. You can protect yourself from schistosomiasis by not wading in freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, etc. When bathing, run scalding hot water, then let it cool before you get in. You should also dry off well after any contact with freshwater. There is no vaccination for schistosomiasis at the time of posting.

Rabies: Rabies is a virus you can get if you’re bitten, scratched or even licked by an infected animal. If you will be in contact with animals, or in remote regions, consult with your doctor about getting a rabies vaccination before you go.

If you’re bringing prescription medications:
  1. Check to see if there are restrictions on your medication in your destination country, especially if the medication contains narcotics, amphetamines or other often controlled substances
  2. Bring medications in their original, labeled container. Never carry loose medication
  3. Include your dated prescription signed by your doctor, certifying the condition the medications are prescribed for, dosages and their generic drug names. Ensure the name on the prescription, container and your passport all match.
  4. If you need syringes or needles, your doctor includes their need on the prescription.
  5. Before you leave, find out how you can legally access medications in the case of loss, theft or emergency – even OTC medication may require documentation from your doctor. Never have controlled substances mailed to you
  6. If legal, consider bring a second container of any essential medications, in case one is lost or stolen. Pack the primary bottle in your carry on, and the second one in another location. Personal-use quantity restrictions may limit you to 30-or 90-day supplies
Travel Health Insurance Checklist:
  1. Investigate travel health insurance options
  2. Be sure the plan includes any pre-existing conditions you have, and be sure to declare them before you go
  3. See if you need an “Extreme Sports” add-on policy if you’re planning activities like scuba diving or spelunking
  4. Find out the payment or reimbursement process and 24-hour emergency coverage contact