Cuba Vaccines & Travel Advice

Travel clinic for Cuba
Travel health and vaccines advice for Cuba
Cuba
 
Cuba is both intriguing and fascinating. The country went through an eventful history of Spanish colonization, slavery, independence, creating a republic and revolution. A land of paradoxes, Cuba is a truly unique destination. The largest island of the Caribbean, it remains economically poor today, but it has an extraordinarily rich culture. Cuba is filled with striking architectural treasures, breathtaking beaches, hidden bays, gorgeous mountains and picturesque landscapes filled with coffee, tobacco and sugarcane fields going as far as the eyes can see.

WHAT VACCINES DO I NEED FOR CUBA IN 2021

The Government of Canada and the CDC recommend the following vaccines for travelling to Cuba in 2021: Traveler’s Diarrhea, Hepatitis AHepatitis BRabies, Flu, COVID-19, Typhoid fever, Cholera

HEALTH ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO Cuba

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 Cuba can change daily.

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

CUBA – RECOMMENDED VACCINES

Yellow Fever

A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry into Cuba.

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

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 Td 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 travellers 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 travellers
Typhoid FeverRecommended for most travellers, 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 travellers; 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 travellers 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.
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.
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 in cuba

Antibiotics Traveler’s DiarrheaCiprofloxacin, Azithromycin or Suprax.

FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES IN CUBA

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food. In some areas in Cuba, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Cuba. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Risk Cholera is a risk in parts of Cuba.  Most travellers are at very low risk. To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
  • 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 CUBA

In some areas in Cuba, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria, West Nile virus and Zika virus. Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Cuba. 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 Cuba, 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 Cuba. 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 Cuba. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to Cuba. 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 Cuba for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women: Wait 2 months after travel to Cuba 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 Cuba or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more information, see the travel health notice: Zika virus.

MALARIA IN CUBA

There is no risk of malaria in Cuba.

ANIMALS AND ILLNESS IN CUBA

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

PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS IN CUBA

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 CUBA

Cuba has a very good health care system, among the best in the Greater Antilles. The country provides excellent medical care in both public and private sectors. Numerous general practitioners and specialists are working on the island. Cuban medical facilities are usually very modernly equipped, making the country a destination of choice for foreign people seeking low-cost surgery care. Medical care is free for Cuban citizens, but not for tourists. In case of emergency in Cuba, call 106. Despite its excellent health care situation, Cuba is facing severe drug supply issues. Because of the United States embargo, American medicines are very hard to find. This is resulting in regular shortages of medicines. When traveling to the country, you should thus bring a complete medical set.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE FOR TOURISTS IN CUBA

Physicians are available at most hotels and at international clinics located in tourist areas. They provide initial emergency medical care reserved for foreigners.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN CUBA

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Cuba.
  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack them in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescription(s)
As pharmacies sometimes run out of stock, you should also bring basic medicine, particularly if travelling to outlying areas.

MEDICAL TOURISM IN CUBA

Canadian citizens have had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad. Before leaving for a medical travel, make sure you have done your research and use competent health-care providers only.

FUMIGATION IN CUBA

Cuban public health authorities continue to implement insect control measures, including fumigation and aerial spraying. The toxic fumigants can cause discomfort if inhaled. Stay indoors if fumigation is being carried out nearby.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR CUBA

Cuban authorities will not allow anyone with outstanding medical bills to leave the country. You may need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays. Ensure your insurance coverage also includes the repatriation of human remains.

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 CUBA

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Increasingly, Canadians are victims of these crimes, especially in Havana.

Read More »

Emergency services in Cuba

In case of emergency, dial:

  • Police: 106
  • Medical Assistance: 104
  • Frefighters: 105
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