Christmas Island (Australia)
Time Zone: +10 hours Eastern, GMT +9.5 hours Central, GMT +8 hours Western. Most states observe daylight savings time in summer.
Tel. Country Code: 61
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 240/50 (volts/hz). South Pacific Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug E.
Christmas Island, a territory of Australia, is located in the Indian Ocean, about 870 miles (1,400 km) northwest of Australia. The climate is tropical, and temperatures average 81 degrees F (27 C) throughout the year. The rainy season runs from December to April, during which the island may get up to 113 inches (287 cm) of rain.
Neither the United States, Canada, nor the United Kingdom has an embassy in the Christmas Island.
U.S. Diplomatic Representation (Australia):
Tel:  (2) 6214-5600
Sydney:  (2) 373-9200
Melbourne:  (3) 526-5900
Perth:  (9) 202-1224
• Consulate General of Canada
Quay West Building
111 Harrington Street
Tel:  (2) 9364-3000
Fax:  (2) 9364-3098
• British High Commission
Tel:  (2) 6270 6666
Fax: [61 (2) 6273 3236
HIV Test: Same requirements as Australia.
Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever certificate of vaccination is required for all travelers >1 year of age, who within the past 6 days have traveled or passed through an endemic area, as listed by WHO.
Passport/Visa: Britain annexed Christmas Island (then uninhabited) in 1888. A 99-year lease was taken out in 1891 by John Murray and George Ross, who transferred it to the Christmas Island Phosphate Company in 1897. In 1900 Christmas Island was incorporated into the Straits Settlements and became subject to the laws of Singapore. It was occupied by the Japanese army from March 1942 until August 1945. In 1947 the Straits Settlements ceased to exist, and Singapore, together with Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island, became the Colony of Singapore. From 1 January to 30 September 1958, Christmas Island was a British Crown colony; after which it became an Australian territory, administered initially by the minister for external territories.
Under the Migration Act of 1981, Christmas Island residents were entitled to become residents and citizens of Australia. In 1984 the benefits of Australian social security, enfranchisement, health and education were extended to them; and progressively from 1985 to 1989, they became liable for income and other taxes. A proposal to secede from Australia was rejected in an unofficial referendum held in 1994.
Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from acupuncture, tattooing or body piercing; when receiving non-sterile medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin sores on an infected person. Recommended for long-term travelers, expatriates, and any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.
Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
Rabies: Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection.
Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• In addition to tetanus, all travelers, including adults, should be fully immunized against diphtheria. A booster dose of a diphtheria-containing vaccine (Td or Tdap vaccine) should be given to those who have not received a dose within the previous 10 years.
Note: ADACEL and Boostrix are new tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccines that not only boost immunity against diphtheria and tetanus, but have the advantage of also protecting against pertussis (whooping cough), a serious disease in adults as well as children. The Tdap vaccines can be administered in place of the Td vaccine when a booster is indicated.
Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to hotels or resorts.
Hospitals / Doctors
Adequate, but limited, medical care is available in the settlement. Christmas Island has a modern hospital with a fully-equipped operating theatre.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated locally, every effort should be made to arrange medical evacuation to Australia.
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: It is estimated that 0.4% of the adult population of Oceania is living with HIV/AIDS, but no statistics are currently available for Christmas Island.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluid of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.
Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.
Dengue Fever: Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness occurring in many parts of Oceania. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases.
• Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours. All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
A dengue fever map is at: http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/documents/dengue_map.pdf
Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic but prevalence is undetermined. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals (pigs) may serve as a viral reservoir. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• Hepatitis B is hyperendemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at >8%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic in the general population at a level not clearly determined. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Influenza: Influenza is transmitted year-round in the tropics. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months.
Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in Christmas Island.
Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include sharks, jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, sea snakes and coral.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating coral reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
Rabies: There is a low but undetermined risk of rabies on Christmas Island. All unprovoked animal bites should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment. Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites.
• Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin, but does not eliminate the need for two additional booster doses of vaccine. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment of any animal bite is essential, regardless of vaccination status. Note: If adequate rabies treatment is not available locally, medical evacuation to Australia is advised.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Low to moderate risk. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.