Crime, health & cash in Kosovo

Violent crime exists in Kosovo, but it's usually confined to members of organised crime. Most of the dangers are of the petty kind found in most places: pickpocketing and purse-snatching. Take the usual precautions: keep your wallet safe and hold your bag in front of you when in crowded areas or in public transportation.

(The long war has taken a toll on infrastructure)

Health Concerns

It's not a good idea to get sick in Kosovo. Hospitals are chronically under-funded and under-equipped, while doctors lag modern know-how by many years.

You'll be asked for a small payment for medical service, usually around 4 euros. You are strongly advised to take out travel insurance in case you need to be flown out.

Kosovo suffers from sporadic outbreaks of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), which is transmitted by ticks during the summer months. It's as nasty as it sounds. Although, at the time this was written, only 18 people have has confirmed cases since April 2010, five have died.

Most of them occur around the central Kosovar region of Malishev, but other rural regions have been affected. If you feel a sudden fever, aching muscles, dizziness, sore eyes, abdominal pain, mood swings and rashes, seek immediate help. Death usually occurs in the second week is untreated.

Other symptoms may include nausea, diarrhoea, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and blood in urine and stools.

Cash & Cards

The economy is cash-based and the Euro is the currency in use.

While credit cards are accepted widely, limit their use to trusted businesses like hotels. Credit card fraud is growing, and the more you use it, the more you put yourself at risk.

Watch Out!

Also, look down when you walk, especially in Pristina. Desperate people have been known to steal manhole covers for scrap metal. This isn't an issue in busy areas, but even a few kilometres outside downtown could be dangerous. Be especially careful when walking in tall grass beside roads or sidewalks.

An if you see a small pile of sticks and stones, walk around it. These could be the local residents' interim solution to a open sewer hole.

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