Vaccination and Travel Information for Brunei

BRUNEI

 Information current as at: February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No 1 Fitzwilliam Street Upper Dublin 2 Ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: Northeast monsoon winds blow from December through until March. The southwest monsoon occurs from May to September. April and Oct are the transition months between the monsoons, characterised by light and variable winds.The weather in Brunei is determined by the combination of these local winds and the larger scale monsoon winds.
Rainfall in Brunei is heavy and usually occurs in the form of thunderstorms. Rain is abundant and occurs all year round. Temperatures differ little from month to month, and there is no large daily range of temperature. Night-time temperatures can be oppressive due to high humidity. In the afternoons, conditions on the coast are often relieved by sea breezes.
Capital City: Bandar Seri Begawan
Altitude: At sea level
Main Cities: Baqngar, Seria, Sukang
Population: 292,266
Land Area (sq km): 5,770
Currency: 1 Brunei dollar = 100 cents
Languages: Malay, English
Religions: Muslim 63%, Buddhism 14%, Christian 8%, other 15%
Economy: petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas



The D2 Medical advises travellers to be 'up-to-date' for:

CHOLERA Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
DIPHTHERIA We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.
HEPATITIS 'A' Immunisation is strongly recommended but not compulsory.
HEPATITIS ‘B’ Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be in the area for 1 month or more. Transmission of Hepatitis B is through sex or contact with contaminated blood, needles and syringes.
JAP. B.ENCEPHALITIS Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be living in rural areas for 1 month or more.
POLIO Initial childhood series of four vaccinations in the first five years of life is recommended, with a booster dose 10 yearly only if a traveller is to going to an endemic area for the disease, or there is another reason to ensure immunity; such as emergence of a wild polio virus in the intended region of travel.
RABIES Rabies risk is low. No human cases in the last 10 years. Immunisation may be recommended for travellers who will be living in remote, isolated, areas for 1 month or more.
TUBERCULOSIS (TB) Immunisation is not compulsory, and is not routinely recommended for adults. Children should be immunised at any age. A skin test is available if immune status is in doubt, and this is recommended pre- and post- travel for those going to ‘at risk’ regions.
TETANUS We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.
TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is recommended.
YELLOW FEVER A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas or having passed through partly or wholly endemic areas within the preceding 6 days. The countries and areas included in the endemic zones are considered as infected areas.




Malarial is not considered to be a risk in urban and most rural areas.




MEDICAL FACILITIES
There is adequate care for routine medical conditions in Brunei; however, due to unpredictable shortages of materials and uncertain support staff, any elective surgery or complicated care is best obtained in Singapore or elsewhere. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalisation and/or medical evacuation may be extremely expensive. Medical insurance to cover this is strongly recommended. Note: blood supplies may not be adequately screened for HIV and other blood-borne diseases. It is strongly recommended that serious medical treatment only be sought at hospitals and clinics which conduct adequate blood screening.

ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE
Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travellers under the age of 55. Most are caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; and to a lesser degree, drowning, aircraft crashes, murders, and burns. Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travellers, but infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travellers. Generally, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
Travellers are advised to obtain, before departure, travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should include a medical evacuation benefit. Check for any exclusions that are part of the policy. Worldwise OnLINE recommends that the policy also provide 24-hour access to an assistance centre that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care, and determine if air ambulance services are required.

ROAD SAFETY
There are approximately 1,500 kilometres of roads in the country with the best-developed road network in the Brunei-Muara district, including a coastal highway which runs Muara to Jerudong and then on to Tutong. Traffic drives on the left.

Bus - Services operate to Seria (57 miles) from Bandar Seri Begawan), Kuala Belait (0 miles) from Seria), Tutong (30 miles) from Bandar Seri Begawan) and Muara (7 miles) from Bandar Seri Begawan). The city bus system is well maintained and inexpensive and there is a bus station in the town.

Car Rental - Rental cars (Self-drive or chauffeur-driven) are available at the airport and major hotels. It is important to specify whether an air-conditioned car is required. An International Driving Permit is required to hire a car. A temporary license to drive in Brunei is available on presentation of a valid driving license from the visitor's country of origin. Taxis - You can find taxis available in Bandar Seri Begawan. Fares are usually metered. If not they should be agreed before the journey. There is a 50 per cent surcharge after 2300. Tipping is not necessary.
If you are involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene until the police have attended.




Most visits to Brunei are trouble-free. Overall, the situation in Brunei remains calm. There have been no public protests or demonstrations, and the law and order situation is good.

TERRORISM
There is no recent history of terrorism in the country, but there have been serious attacks in the region. Westerners were deliberately targeted in terrorist attacks in Bali (October 2002) and Jakarta (August 2003). Travellers should, thus, be aware of the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, in all countries of the world, against civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites.

SAFETY AND SECURITY
Local people may have strong views on the events of 11 September; military response on 7 October and their consequences and, in conversations, may become critical of British policy and adopt a menacing attitude. Whilst there is probably no intention to cause physical harm, in such circumstances do not pursue the discussion, but to try to change the subject or move away from the speaker.

CRIME
The crime rate in Brunei is low, and violent crime is rare. The death penalty is administered for drug trafficking.

 

LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Visitors to Brunei should note that there are severe penalties for all drug offences including, in some cases, the death penalty. Muslims (including visitors) are subject to Shariah Law. The sale of alcohol in Brunei is prohibited. Non-Muslims may import duty free, two bottles of wine or spirits and twelve cans of beer on every entry into Brunei, but must declare them to Customs.

                                                                                                                                     DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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