Human health

​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources performs human health functions on behalf of the Department of Health at Australia’s international air and sea ports.

All incoming travellers (including crew) are provided with an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) on route or on arrival into Australia. All travellers must complete this card which will be collected on arrival.

Aircraft or vessel operators

Australian law requires that the operator of an international aircraft or vessel must report any ill travellers (including crew) and their symptoms . The report must be made to a biosecurity officer prior to the aircraft or vessel's arrival in Australia.

The operator of the aircraft or vessel is also required to broadcast the mandatory passenger announcement on all international aircraft or cruise vessels prior to arrival in Australia, which must not to be edited.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a disease caused by a new virus that can cause a rapid onset of severe respiratory disease in people. Most severe cases have occurred in people with underlying conditions that may make them more likely to get respiratory infections.

All cases have lived in or travelled to the Middle East, or have had close contact with people who acquired the infection in the Middle East. There have been no cases in Australia.

Travellers who become unwell whilst travelling in the Middle East should see a doctor or go the local emergency department, and not wait until arrival in Australia.

Travellers who have been to the Middle East within the past 14 days, or who have had contact with someone who may have had MERS-CoV and get a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or are worried, should see a doctor or go to the emergency department. It is important to advise the receptionist or nurse on arrival that you have visited the Middle East or have had contact with someone who may have had MERS-CoV.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a listed human disease in Australia. It is strongly recommended that all travellers planning to visit a yellow fever declared country be vaccinated for yellow fever.

Travellers who have been to a yellow fever declared country within the last six days must declare this on their IPC. Travellers who are nine months of age or older will be asked to provide a valid international Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if, within six days before arriving in Australia, they have stayed overnight or longer in a yellow fever declared country.

Travellers unable to provide a certificate will still be able to enter Australia. A biosecurity officer will provide the traveller with information about the disease and a Yellow Fever Action Card. This card provides instructions on what to do if the traveller develops any symptoms of yellow fever in the six-day period following their departure from a yellow fever declared country.

Zika virus

Zika virus is spread by the bite of a mosquito that is carrying the virus. Not all types of mosquitoes can spread the Zika virus. It is spread mostly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but also possibly Aedes albopictus. Both are daytime biting mosquitoes, with increased activity around sunrise and sunset.

Most areas of Australia (excluding parts of Queensland) do not have the mosquitoes that can carry the virus and hence there is no risk of Zika virus being spread by mosquitoes. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is currently found in parts of Northern, Central and Southwest Queensland, while the Aedes albopictus mosquito is found in the Torres Strait Islands. Currently, all cases of Zika virus diagnosed in Australia were caught overseas.

The department continues to apply, monitor and enforce measures at ports and airports to prevent mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus from entering and establishing in new areas of Australia.

For further information on Zika and the list of Zika virus affected countries refer to the Department of Health website.


Under Australian law there are tough penalties for providing false information to biosecurity officers. These penalties will be enforced against any person who does not accurately disclose their recent travel history as required on the IPC.

In-flight health messages and airport signage will emphasise to travellers the importance of making truthful declarations.

Useful information

Contacts for further information

Human health issues
Department of Health
MDP 27, GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
+61 2 6289 8638

Human biosecurity requirements at Australian international air and sea ports Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: +61 2 6272 4143

Phone: +61 2 6272 5557