The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Earthquake in Nepal

Updated July 16, 2015

Updated: July 15, 2015

Travel Health Notice

Two major earthquakes have occurred in Nepal in recent months. On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in central Nepal followed by a number of aftershocks as well as another major 7.4 magnitude earthquake on May 12, 2015.

Several thousand deaths and many more injuries were reported in Nepal as a result of the earthquakes. Some areas continue to be heavily impacted, including significant damages to infrastructure. However, many tourist facilities in the country and most hotels have reopened. Telecommunications, power, water and health care services have been restored in most areas.

As the monsoon (rainy) season begins, it increases the risk for diseases spread by water, insects and from person to person, especially in the most affected areas where there is overcrowding and hygiene and sanitation systems have been disrupted.

The Government of Canada recommends Canadians travelling to the districts in Nepal affected by the earthquake avoid all non-essential travel. There is no nation-wide advisory in effect. Travellers should consult the Government of Canada’s country advice and advisories page for NepalExternal link for a list of areas that continue to be affected by the earthquake, as well as information on health, safety and security, and instructions for Canadians in or travelling to the region. Travellers in the region should exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities.


If you must travel to the affected areas, be aware that there is an increased risk of injury and illness and decreased access to health care services:

  1. Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel and purchase travel health insuranceExternal link.
  2. Get vaccinated.
    • Make sure you are up-to-date with all of your routine vaccinations.
    • Discuss your travel plans with your health care provider or travel health clinic as there may be other vaccines to considerExternal link for your travel to Nepal.
  3. Practise safe food and water precautionsExternal link.
    Widespread damage to infrastructure is estimated to have affected over eight million people and has impacted food and water supplies. Some areas remain inaccessible. There is an increased risk of food- and water-related diseases, like travellers’ diarrheaExternal link, choleraExternal link, hepatitis AExternal link and typhoidExternal link.
  4. Protect yourself against insect bitesExternal link.
    Flooding and standing water increase the risk of insect-related diseases such as dengue feverExternal link, Japanese encephalitisExternal link and malariaExternal link.
  5. Protect yourself against animal-related diseases.
    Due to the displacement of the people in these areas, there is likely an increase of stray animals. Travellers should take precautions to avoid contact with all animals, as they may carry rabiesExternal link.

    • Discuss the benefits of getting vaccinated with your health care provider.
    • Avoid contact with all animals, wild or domestic.
    • If bitten or scratched, immediately clean the wound and seek medical attention.
  6. Pack a travel health kitExternal link with first aid supplies and medication to handle minor injuries and illnesses, and to manage pre-existing medical conditions.
  7. Protect yourself against injury and illness:
    • Use caution around damaged buildings, downed power lines, water-affected electrical outlets, and interrupted gas lines.
    • Be cautious near moving water. Avoid standing or wading in or driving through moving water.
    • Wear appropriate sturdy footwear in all disaster-affected  areas.
  8. Be aware:
    • Access to adequate medical care in the affected areas will be very limited.
    • There will be limited or no commercial accommodation available.
    • Persons with chronic or unstable medical conditions should discuss whether to travel to Nepal with their health care provider.
  9. If you are travelling to the affected areas to support relief efforts (aid workers), protect yourself:
    • If you are going to be providing medical care to or working with ill or displaced persons, discuss pre- and post-travel tuberculin skin testing with your health care provider.
    • If you are in close contact with a person who is ill with a fever and coughing, producing sputum or is a suspected or known tuberculosis (TB) patient:
      • Consider wearing Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) and follow proper guidelines for preventing transmission of respiratory diseases such as influenzaExternal link and TBExternal link.
    • While providing care to someone with diarrhea and/or vomiting or when changing diapers, if possible, wear a gown and gloves.
    • Wear gloves when touching blood, body fluids, mucous membranes and broken skin as well as when handling anything that may have been soiled with blood and body fluids. If you have a needle stick, puncture, cut or blood splash to your eyes, you should seek immediate medical attention.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water frequentlyExternal link.
    • The stressful situations that you may encounter while providing assistance to victims may cause emotional and/or psychological difficulties. Make sure you have necessary mental health support while in Nepal and after you return.
  10. Consult the Government of Canada’s general health recommendations for NepalExternal link for additional information.
  11. After you return home to Canada
    • If you get sick when you return to Canada:
      • See a health care provider and inform them that you have travelled to Nepal and inform them what activities you participated in while in Nepal.
      • o If you were bitten or scratched by an animal, inform your health care provider immediately.
      • If you work in an occupation such as health care, food service and child care, seek medical attention immediately.
    • Be aware that symptoms of malariaExternal link, which include a fever, can occur up to one year after your return. Seek medical attention immediately and tell your health care provider that you have travelled to a region where malaria is pre sent.