Belize Travel Vaccines & Advice

Belize
Travel clinic Belize
Travel health and vaccine advice for Belize

Located on the Eastern coast of Central America between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a true gem. The lush jungles and diverse ecosystems found in the country are a haven for wildlife. Jaguars, armadillos, black howler monkeys and colorful macaws are only a fraction of the extremely rich fauna living here. Belize’s Caribbean coast was once home to fierce pirates… It is now a paradise for tourists with its white sand beaches, emerald waters, idyllic small islets and abundant marine life offering amazing diving experiences. Belize also hides many vestiges of the Mayan civilization, making it truly fascinating to explore.

HEALTH ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO Belize

We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, travel health and safety risks in Belize can change daily.

For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.

BELIZE – RECOMMENDED VACCINES

Yellow Fever

A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry in to Belize.

Some travellers may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Please enquire with your health care professional regarding your specific details.
It is important to note that the vaccine should be administered at least 10 days prior to your departure.

For further information, please consult with the World Health Organization (WHO) website:
https://www.who.int/ith/ith-country-list.pdf

Hepatitis ARecommended for all travelers.
Tetanus – Diphtheria – Pertussis Vaccine

Tetanus: In exceptional circumstances (eg, stay in a region where access to health care is limited), for a person aged 18 years or older, 1 dose of DT may be given if 5 years or more has elapsed since the last dose.
Otherwise, one booster dose at the age of 50*.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough):  1 dose is recommended for pregnant women, for every pregnancy, regardless of immunization history and the interval since the last dose (between week 26 and 32).

*Only applicable for Quebec.

Measles – Rubella – MumpsTwo doses recommended for all travelers born after 1970, if not previously given.
Flu – InfluenzaSeasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing or by touching infected surfaces. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccine is recommended 14 days prior to departure.
Routine vaccines (dCaT, Polio, Meningococcal, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR & Varicella)Recommended for all travelers
Typhoid feverRecommended for most travelers, especially those who are staying with friends or relatives; visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water; or prone to “adventurous eating”
Hepatitis BConsider for most travelers; recommended for those who might be exposed to blood or other body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).
African Tick Bite FeverCould be present. All travellers should protect themselves against tick bites.
RabiesFor travelers at high risk of animal bites or being involved in activities with bats, dogs and other mammals. Clients who plan to visit remote areas may consider receiving this vaccine. Important to note the pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered in 2 doses with one week interval between doses. Post-exposure vaccination is always recommended, even for those previously vaccinated.
Chagas DiseasePresence. All travelers should protect themselves against triatomine bugs.
Traveler’s Diarrhea (ETEC)Talk to your health care professional about the risks and precautionary measures to take, as well as the Dukoral® vaccine. Important to note that the Dukoral vaccine is an oral vaccine given in 2 doses, recommended at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
MalariaMalaria is present in Belize. The risk may be region specific. Prophylaxis measures to be discussed with the health care professional.
Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and/or ZikaThere are many illnesses that are transmitted via mosquito bites and unfortunately we do not have vaccines to protect us against most of them. It is important to inquire with your healthcare professional regarding the specific risks and the different illnesses presently in circulation.

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS FOR TRAVEL TO BELIZE

Antibiotics Traveler’s DiarrheaCiprofloxacin, Azithromycin or Suprax.

FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES IN BELIZE

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central America and Mexico, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central America and Mexico. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

  • Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers’ diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.

INSECTS AND ILLNESS IN BELIZE

In some areas in Central America and Mexico, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus, and Zika virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Belize. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In Belize, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round.  It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

Zika virus is a risk in Belize.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to Belize. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to Belize.

Travel recommendations:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to Belize for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women: Wait 2 months after travel to Belize or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
  • Men: Wait 3 months after travel to Belize or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.

MALARIA IN BELIZE

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in Belize.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

ANIMALS AND ILLNESS IN BELIZE

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Central America and Mexico, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS IN BELIZE

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN BELIZE

Belize has a very low health care level. The medical infrastructure in the country severely lacks trained staff. The medical equipment is usually rudimentary and sometimes non-existent in remote areas. To access good quality care, you should go to private hospitals, like the Belize Medical Associates, the Universal Health Services and the Loma Luz Hospital, all located in San Ignacio. These establishments are very expensive. 

Numerous pharmacies are found in large cities and in some hospitals. Medicines are of good quality in Belize, but their price is usually exorbitant. The country imports drugs from North America and Europe. It is possible to purchase medicines without a prescription. But don’t forget to bring your own first aid kit.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

KEEP IN MIND…

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

SECURITY IN BELIZE

Criminal activity, including armed robbery, home invasions, mugging and sexual assault, is a problem throughout Belize.

Read More »

Emergency services

Across the country, call 911 for emergency assistance. In Belize City, call 90.

If you prefer a private ambulance, you can contact BERT at 501-223-3292.