So, you've survived the myriad of border checks, random id checks, the threat of terrorism and driving in the Belarus countryside...what's the next threat to safety?
Radiation and tuberculosis that's what!
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 on the Ukraine / Belarus border still has serious effects on the local population. Rising rates of cancers and birth defects are some of the more obvious ones. Some 70% of the radiation fallout from the disaster landed on Belarus affecting farmland, some river and lake systems and food sourced from forests.
However, these days most food in Belarus is considered to have safe levels of radiation, due to regular testing. However, avoid all Belarus dairy products, forest mushrooms, forest fruit or any farm food from market or street side stalls and any water from village wells. In cities it is a good idea (though not mandatory) to boil, then filter tap water before drinking it. Alternatively bottled water is widely available.
The other major threats to health in Belarus are tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease in heavily wooded areas and more generally Tuberculosis is on the rise.
To protect against encephalitis take the following measures in forest areas:
Tuberculosis (TB) is a very serous bacterial infection that primarily targets the lungs. It is contagious however you are unlikely to be infected by casual passers by. Infection is caused when you are in consistent, close contact with someone suffering from TB. You can mitigate the risks of infection by a few simple means:
Before you enter Belarus it's a good idea to be up to date with the following immunisations:
The healthcare system in Belarus can be extremely limited in rural areas and not always up to scratch in the cities. If you fall seriously sick or are badly injured contact your consular department for assistance.
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