Iraq

Iraq

Avoid Travel

Iraq is located in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. The population is about 31.8 million people. The government is a parliamentary democracy with a president as a chief of state and a prime minister as head of government.

Iraq is home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations, including the Assyrians and the Babylonians, that flourished in the areas around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Before 1979, Iraq was a prosperous nation with an economy based on oil revenues. Then in 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, thus beginning the ten-year war, which drained the economy of both countries and caused great loss of lives on both sides. In 1990, Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. This action was met with a military response by a coalition of forces led by the United States, referred to as the Persian Gulf War. Another US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003 under the premise that Iraq had and was producing “weapons of mass destruction,” and President Saddam Hussein was ousted. The following years have seen crime, violence, insurgency, and chaos.

Violence continues in Iraq. The Sunni Muslims are responsible for much of the sectarian violence aimed at undermining the Shia-dominated government. The political and security situation in Iraq remains volatile.

Currency IQD: Iraqi dinar
Language Arabic, Kurdish
Capital Baghdad
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Iraq. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Iraq through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Iraq.

Malaria

The World Health Organization reports that there is a limited risk of malaria infection from May to November in areas in the north below 1,500 metres (Dunhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniya Provinces). Anti-malaria medications are not recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports no malaria transmission in Iraq.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Polio

There were sporadic cases of polio reported in 2014. Travellers should always have their childhood vaccinations up to date, including polio.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in this country, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Cholera

Cholera does occur in this country.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Iraq.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Polio Vaccine

There were sporadic cases of polio reported in 2014. Travellers should always have their childhood vaccinations up to date, including polio.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Iraq.

None required.

Safety and Security in Iraq

Emergency Numbers

The emergency medical service infrastructure in Iraq is very weak. Some countries advise those travelling in Iraq to hire professional security teams for escort and/or for emergency services and assistance, including medical evacuation.

Personal Safety

Many countries advise their citizens to avoid all travel to Iraq due to the high threat of terrorism, kidnapping, and the dangerously unstable security situation. Numerous insurgency groups operate in Iraq. Some countries advise citizens who do decide to visit or stay in Iraq to hire professional security teams and to vary the routes of travel and routine.

There is a high risk of kidnapping and terrorist attack in Iraq. Kidnapping victims have been taken from homes, workplaces, and while travelling, and many victims have been killed.

Petty crime is common, including theft from hotel rooms, pick-pocketing, etc.

There are deadly bombings almost daily around the country, often motivated by sectarian tensions.

Travel on roads throughout Iraq, including in metropolitan areas, is dangerous due to random deadly attacks on civilian vehicles, as well as Iraqi military and police convoys. Attacks occur day or night, but travel at night is even higher risk and should be avoided. Attacks on vehicles have involved gunfire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

There is a risk of carjacking, robbery and bogus vehicle checkpoints.

Areas To Avoid

Areas near the borders with Syria, Turkey and Iran are dangerous. Military operations take place against insurgent groups. Minefields are in these areas.

Avoid all travel to the areas of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar Province due to armed conflict. Journalists are banned from entering the Anbar province without specific approval from authorities.

Avoid all travel to the provinces of Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah due to the high threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping.

Attacks are most frequent in the western and northern provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Tam’mim, Anbar and Diyala, although there have also been attacks in other provinces.

Extreme Violence

There is a very high risk of extreme violence throughout Iraq. There is a high risk of kidnapping throughout Iraq.

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