Bolivia Travel Vaccines & Advice

Travel clinic Bolivia
Travel health and vaccine advice for Bolivia
Bolivia
 
Llamas, colorful ponchos, vibrant festivals and smiley people… Welcome to Bolivia! From the heights of the Andes mountains to the lush forests bordering the Amazon river, the South American nation offers travelers various ecosystems home to an astonishingly rich fauna and flora. Bolivia is a country of adventures. Hiking, climbing, biking, horse-riding… There are many ways of experiencing the country’s wild nature and spectacular landscapes. Once home to the mythical Inca civilization, Bolivia hosts today many ethnic groups, blessing the country with a unique culture reflecting the diversity of its population. If you seek a genuine Latin American experience, look no further than Bolivia!

HEALTH ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO BOLIVIA

e 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 Bolivia can change daily.

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

BOLIVIA – RECOMMENDED VACCINES

Yellow Fever

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

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).
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 Bolivia. 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 BOLIVIA

Antibiotics (Traveler’s Diarrhea)Ciprofloxacin, Azithromycin or Suprax.
AntimalarialsMalarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine
Acetazolamide/DexaméthasoneRecommended to prevent Acute mountain sickness (AMS).

FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES IN Bolivia

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

In some areas in Bolivia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. 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 Bolivia

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

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Bolivia. 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 Bolivia, 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.

Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

Zika virus is a risk in Bolivia.

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 Bolivia. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to Bolivia.

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 Bolivia for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women: Wait 2 months after travel to Bolivia 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 Bolivia or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.

For more travel recommendations, see Zika virus: Advice for travellers.

MALARIA IN Bolivia

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in Bolivia.
  • 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 provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

ANIMALS AND ILLNESS IN Bolivia

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS IN Bolivia

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.

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN Bolivia

The health care system remains precarious in Bolivia. Basic medical care is quite good in major cities. But in rural areas, health care facilities are of very poor quality, and sometimes non existent. Specialized in the treatment of common diseases and travel related pathologies, the High Altitude Pathology Institute (Clinica IPPA) in La Paz is a quality medical center greatly praised by travelers.

Most clinics and hospitals in Bolivia accept payment in cash only. Clinics and hospitals may refuse to allow you to leave their premises before paying for services.

If you need an ambulance, contact SAMI at 706-1656, -57, 279-9911. But be advised that it is sometimes faster to take a taxi.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive. You may need it in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

MEDICATIONS IN Bolivia

If you have a pre-existing medical condition and prescription medication, carry the physician’s prescription and a letter from a doctor describing the medical condition. If you bring prescription medicine with you, pack more than enough for the duration of your expected stay and make sure they are in their original containers.

Some prescribed medications are considered as narcotics in Bolivia. Consult the list of controlled substances to avoid trouble.

Bolivia’s list of controlled substances – Ministry of Social Defense and Controlled Substances (in Spanish)

Pharmacies in Bolivia are usually well stocked, but medicines do not always follow international quality standards, and their production is not strictly controlled. Some pharmacists don’t have proper training to exercise their profession. Some reliable pharmaceutical establishments can be found in La Paz. 

DRINKING WATER IN Bolivia

Tap water in Bolivia is unsafe.

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 BOLIVIA

Demonstrations and labour strikes occur regularly, often with little or no notice. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Protesters have used dynamite during previous protests.

Read More »

Emergency services in BOLIVIA

In case of emergency, dial:

  • Police: 110
  • Tourist police: 800-14-0071
  • Medical assistance: 165
  • Firefighters: 119