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Health Care Information

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Infectious Diseases and Medical Concerns for Panama

The following medical diseases or health concerns are more common in travel to Panama (compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World):

More Common Diseases and Medical Concerns for Panama

The following health concerns or diseases are more commonly found in Panama compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World:

  • motor vehicle trauma - wear seatbelts and avoid night driving
  • drownings due to strong currents
  • rips and undertows are common

Epidemics for Panama

The following health concerns, diseases or comments are related to epidemics in Panama:

Less Common Diseases and Health Concerns for Panama

The following health concerns or medical diseases are less commonly found in Panama compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World:

  • plague - risk for travelers is small

Vaccinations for Travel to Panama

The following medical vaccinations are desirable or helpful for travel to Panama to prevent contagious diseases in Panama:

  • hepatitis A - or immune globulin (IG)
  • hepatitis B - if risk of exposure to blood/bodily fluid or medical treatment or if your stay will be longer than 6 months, all infants and children 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants
  • rabies - if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation
  • typhoid
  • yellow fever - if going outside urban areas
  • tetanus - booster dose as needed, diphtheria - booster dose as needed, measles - booster dose as needed

Preventions or Health Precautions for Travel to Panama

Any health risk of travel to Panama may be reduced by the following precautionary health measures when visiting Panama:

  • Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed
  • high rate of motor vehicle trauma - avoid night driving and wear seatbelts
  • mosquito bite prevention
  • insect bite protection
  • avoid drinking non-treated water - only drink bottled or canned water
  • eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself
  • to prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot
  • always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • don’t eat food purchased from street vendors
  • don’t drink beverages with ice
  • don’t share needles with anyone
  • don’t handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague - risk for travelers is small)
  • don’t swim in fresh water. Salt water is usually safer
  • strong currents, rips and undertows make swimming in coastal beaches dangerous

Other Relevant Issues for Travel to Panama

The following may be issues relevant to travel to Panama:

  • adequate medical care is available in Panama city at the standard of industrialized countries
  • facilities outside this area are substandard
  • women intending to work in sex industry and those altering visa status once in Panama will be tested for HIV