Cuba Health Care and Vaccinations
* Potentially required if travelling extensively throughout Cuba.
** In January 2017, more than ten people were admitted to hospital in Cienfuegos following malaria diagnosis. Local press reports assert that malaria has been detected in Rodas, in southern central Cuba and alleges that vector (mosquito) control activities are underway.
Obtain adequate health insurance before travelling. Prior to treatment, visitors may need to show proof of ability to pay, though some emergency services are provided free of charge. Standards of care and training are excellent, but equipment and drugs are often in short supply.
Food and Drink
Tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is ubiquitous, but boiling water is recommended to limit plastic waste. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products (with the exception of some cheap ice creams) are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafoods and fruit are generally considered safe to eat.
Dengue fever may occur as well as outbreaks of dengue haemorrhagic fever and meningitis, particularly in urban areas such as Havana and Santiago. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination should be considered. If bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
Cuba is considered to have a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission. The mosquito-borne illness can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The World Health Organisation recommend travellers to Cuba protect themselves from mosquito bites and suggests wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible, sleeping under mosquito nets and using repellents that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide), IR 3535 ((3- [N-butyl-N-acetyl], aminopropionic acid ethyl-ester) or KBR3023 (also called Icaridin or Picaridin). Pregnant women are advised to consider postponing non-essential travel until after pregnancy and pregnant women whose sexual partners live in or travel to areas with Zika virus transmission should follow safe sexual practices or abstain from sex for the duration of their pregnancy. Women who are pregnant, at risk of getting pregnant, or planning pregnancy should seek pre-travel advice from their health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel.
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