Vaccinations, Health and Hygiene Tips for Venezuela

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On top of Venezuela's current political crisis, there has been a surge in mosquito borne and other diseases. This is what you need to know about health and hygiene in Venezuela.


Angel Falls, Canaima National Park, Venezuela Photo © Getty Images/davidluna

IMPORTANT: Venezuela is currently considered a "Do Not Travel" destination by several government travel advisories. For more information, check out our Venezuela travel alerts page. The country is seeing a surge in diseases - mosquito-borne, water-borne and other life threatening conditions. Disease cases in neighboring countries have increased. Venezuela's medical system is in extreme disrepair.

Vaccinations for Venezuela

It's strongly recommended that you have a full range of vaccinations before for Venezuela due to the range of diseases present and limited medical treatment available. However, seek medical attention should you have a fever, diarrhea, headache or any other general symptom in order to receive the correct treatment as many diseases exhibit these symptoms.

  • General routine vaccinations
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Yellow Fever
  • For those heading to more rural locations: Rabies and Typhoid

Medical treatment in Venezuela

With the continual slide into social turmoil, the medical facilities in Venezuela are limited in both urban and rural areas. Private hospitals and medical clinics can be found in Caracas and other main towns however they do often require payment up front. Medicines and other medical supplies can be difficult to obtain so it's a good idea to bring what you need from home. 

For keen scuba divers it is important to note hyperbaric chambers are located at Unidad de Buceo PDVSA in Lagunillas Norte; Hospital Naval Raul Perdomo in Ctia La Mar; Compania Oriente Marine Group in Puerto La Cruz; and Venezuela Divers in Ciudad Ojeda.

Diseases in Venezuela

The situation in Venezuela is bad, very bad. For years now outbreaks of disease have been increasing in regularity and severity and millions of Venezuelans have been affected. In early 2011 there was an outbreak of the AH1N1 flu in Merida State, but since then cases have been confirmed in most other states, including in Caracas.

Dengue fever

Is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year, and it is certainly present in Venezuela's western and south-western states. The government has declared a dengue epidemic in all Venezuelan states. Almost 50,000 people were infected in 2010 - more than double 2009. Since then, the Dengue Fever in Venezuela has continued to spiral out of control with a mysterious disease in 2016, that was likely a super-strain of Dengue, being condemned by President Maduro as a terrorist attack. Whether Maduro is right or wrong, the risk of catching Dengue in Venezuela is very real indeed and is to be avoided at all costs!

Zika virus

Zika virus is now widely transmitted in Venezuela and like dengue fever there is no vaccination available, so take all bite prevention measures possible.


Occurs year-round in some areas of Venezuela, with the highest risk in rural areas of the States of Apure, Amazonas, Barinas, Bolivar (including the Angel Falls), Delta, Amacuro, Monagas, Sucre and Tachira. Chloroquine and sulfoxidine-resistant strains of malaria have been reported. There has been almost a 3-fold increase in Venezuelan malaria cases since 2014.

According to the Pan American Health Organization–World Health Organization (PAHO-WHO), there were 240,613 confirmed malaria cases in Venezuela in 2016 

To ward off both Dengue fever and malaria travellers are advised to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes and use insect repellent at all times. It is also advisable to wear clothing that properly covers the body and to impregnate your clothing with mosquito repellent. It's also worth taking a prophylaxis against malaria.

Yellow fever

There have also been cases of yellow fever in a number of different states of Venezuela. Many countries in South America, such as Brazil, require those arriving from Venezuela to have proof of a yellow fever vaccination. Proof of vaccination will also be required upon re-entry into your home country and in some cases, before you even board the plane.

Parasitic diseases

Leishmaniasis, another insect-borne parasitic disease, is present in some areas. Insect precautions are recommended.

Schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasite that penetrates intact skin, is present in some areas. As is the water borne disease Bilharzia. Avoid contact with fresh water in pools, streams, and lakes.

Other diseases in Venezuela

In 2010, the Venezuelan Health Ministry announced a rise of Chagas disease (Trypanosomiasis) disease cases in central Caracas. However, Chagas disease occurs mostly in the rural states of Trujillo, Lara, Portuguesa, and Barinas.

The Venezuelan health care system is largely broken and in 2016 the long gone disease, Diphtheria, reappeared in Venezuela. The government was quick to blame the CIA and to assure it’s people that the situation was under control but this is just one example from amongst hundreds of how Venezuela is continuing to slide towards anarchy.

Food borne, water borne and other infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Typhoid, Chikungunya, Tuberculosis, Venezuelan haemorrhagic fever, Measles, Mumps, Cholera, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis D and Rubella occur in Venezuela, with the occasional serious outbreak.

There are reports of rabies in bats, in particular in the Amazonas region of Venezuela. If you are traveling to this area and are planning on sleeping or camping outside, it would be advisable to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations before traveling. We strongly recommend sleeping under a mosquito net if you do sleep outside on a jungle trek aside from the usual bite prevention methods.

Food and water safety in Venezuela

Tap water in Venzuela is considered unsafe to drink. You should drink only boiled or treated water and avoid ice in drinks, or anything which has been freshly rinsed, like salads, fruit and vegetables.

You should also avoid raw or undercooked food. Only consume fruit and vegetables which you can peel yourself.

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