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  Ecoportal Venezuela  International - Worldwide Traveler's Services  (12 sections)


FACTS: Official country name: Republic of Venezuela (República de Venezuela)
Area: 912,050 sq km (355,700 sq mi)
Greatest extent: 1,050 km (650 mi) from north to south, 1,290 km (800 mi) from east to west.
Population: ca. 22,000,000
Capital city: Caracas (population ca. 3,500,000)
People: 67% mestizo; 21% European descent; 10% African descent; 2% Indian.
Language: Spanish is the official language, but there are more than 30 Indian languages.
Religion: 96% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant.
Government: Democracy
President: Hugo Chávez Frías (since December 6th, 1998)
Visas: US nationals, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and most Western and Scandinavian Europeans do not require a visa if they fly directly to Venezuela. All foreigners entering Venezuela by land require a valid visa.Check for   in your Country.
Health risks: Cholera, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, yellow fever
Time: GMT/UTC minus 4 hours
Electricity: 110V, 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric



Valid passport required by all. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months if entering with visa or for duration of stay if entering with Tourist Card.

VISAS: Required by all except nationals of the following countries, who do, however, require a 90-day Tourist Card issued from an authorised air carrier:

(a) 1. EU countries (except nationals of Greece who do require visas);

(b) 2. Australia, Canada and the USA;

(c) Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay,San Marino, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan (China), and Trinidad & Tobago and Uruguay.

Note: Special authorisation is required from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to grant entry to certain nationalities; enquire at the Embassy for details.

Types of visa: Tourist, Business and Transit.

Cost: Business; £42. Tourist; £22. Transit; £22.

Validity: Tourist and Business: up to 1 year; Transit: 3 days.

Application to: Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy). For addresses, see top of entry.

Application requirements: (a) Completed application form. (b) Letter of introduction from company or bank for Business visa. (c) 1 passport photograph. (d) Valid passport. (e) Fee. (f) Onward ticket.

Working days required: 2.

Temporary residence: Special authorisation is required from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Caracas.


In the years that followed the conquest, the Spanish colonists came to entirely shape the national culture of Venezuela. The influence of the native, pre-Hispanic communities was marginal, as they were soon assimilated by the strong cultural and political unity of the Spaniards.

After the Spanish conquest, Venezuelan music evolved as a blend of Spanish, African and Indigenous rhythms. Today, an African influence is particularly apparent in the music of the northeast coast, formerly the 'slave coast'. The Gaita is the traditional music of Zulia State and consists of improvised rhyming vocals over four-string guitars and maracas. The Gaita is featured in festivals throughout the year and has now become Venezuela’s traditional Christmas music.  The national Venezuelan dance is the joropo, which is associated with the Llanos region and, like the Gaita is a rhythm accompanied by improvised vocals, four-string guitars, maracas and harps. However, the merengue of the Dominican Republic and the Puerto Rican salsa are the most popular dances in Venezuela.

Venezuelan literature only began to develop during the colonial period, and writings of the era were dominated by Spanish culture and thinking. Chronicles and various styles of poetry were the chief literary manifestations of the 1700s. The 1800s and independence saw the rise of political literature, including the autobiography of Franciso de Miranda. Romanticism, the first important literary genre in Venezuela, unfolded in the mid 1800s and is best illustrated by Peonia, by Manuel Romero García. After independence, Venezuelan literature began to diversify, but only began to rapidly evolve under the regimes of Guzmán Blanco, from 1870 to 1888. The early 1900s saw the rise of several significant writers, novelists and poets, among them Andrés Eloy Blanco, Rómulo Gallegos, Arturo Uslar Pietri and Miguel Otero Silva. Literary tradition became established in Venezuela in the mid 1900s.

Colonial architecture in Venezuela did not really compare to the grand buildings of Columbia, Peru and Ecuador. Churches and houses were simple, and most buildings were constructed in a Spanish style. However, Venezuela stands out for its Modernism. Modern architecture came in two phases, the first under the regime of Guzmán Blanco in the 1870s, and second and most significant in the mid 1900s, when much of the new-found oil wealth was invested in the renovation of Caracas. Today, Caracas is one of the most modern cities in the world.

Pre-Columbian art in Venezuela consisted mainly of rock carvings and cave paintings in the form of petroglyphs. The colonial era was characterised by religious painting and sculpture in Spanish style, of which notable examples include the sculpture St Peter the Apostle by Enrique Antonio Hernández Prieto, and Antonio José Landaeta’s painting The Immaculate Conception. In the years following independence, history took over from religion as the dominant theme of art, a genre best illustrated by the exceptional work of Martín Tovar y Tovar. 20th century art has been marked by modernism, and many changes of style occurred in the 1930s and 1940s. Kinetic art has emerged in the last few decades, and has been most successfully represented by the work of Carlos Cruz Díez and Jesús Soto.

There are many museums in Caracas, including the Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Colonial Art, the Natural Sciences Museum and the Simon Bolívar Museum.

Venezuela’s theatre tradition began in the late 1700s and has been progressively growing ever since. The national theatre became established some thirty years ago, and is now based in Caracas. Venezuela is not noted for its cinema; few films are made and foreign films are favoured.

Venezuela has a strong folk and popular culture. Many regions have well-known symbolic icons which personify their cultural roots. Most significant are the andinos, the hardy mountain folk; the guayanés, the tough frontiersman following a dream; the llanero, the cowboy of the Llanos and the maracucho, the energetic entrepreneur of the Maracaibo area.


Venezuela is located entirely in the tropics. The temperature varies very little during the year and most parts of the country maintain an average of over 25°C (77°F). Its capital, Caracas, has an average annual temperature of 22°C (72°F) and varies by only 4°C (8°F) over the year. However, the temperature drops with altitude. The mountaneous regions can get cold, especially at night, and there is even snow in the highest parts of the Andes.

Like all tropical countries, Venezuela only has two seasons, the dry season, known as verano, and the rainy season, known as invierno, which are marked by the difference in rainfall rather than temperature. Generally, the dry season is from December to April/May, and the rainy season lasts for the rest of the year. Rainfall, however, can occur during the dry season, and the rainy season often has dry months.

There are many regional variations in rainfall. While certain areas, such as the Carribean Islands and the northern coastal region remain dry, with only 280mm (11 inches) of annual rainfall, the mountain slopes of northern Venezuela are generally wet, with annual rainfall reaching up to 1500mm (58 inches). Amazonas remains wet for most of the year, and in the Llanos, a vast plain in the south western region, extensive floods during the rainy months are followed by severe droughts in the dry season.


Currently estimated at 24 million and increasing at a rate of over 2.5% per year, Venezuela’s population is the fastest growing in South America. Half the population is under the age of eighteen. The vast majority of Venezuelans lives in urban areas, and Caracas is home to about 20% of the population. Population density varies according to region. While cities of the central coastal region have a high concentration of people, areas such as Los Llanos, the Amazon and Guyana are inhabited by very few. Owing to the constant migration of people from country to city, this distribution seems likely to continue.

Venezuela has a mixed ancestry. About 67% of the population are of Mulatto-Mestizo descent, with the remainder made up of Whites (21%), Africans (10%), and Indians (2%). Nowadays, many immigrants also reside in the country, coming above all from Colombia. The most commonly practiced religion is Roman Catholicism, though Protestantism is growing in importance. Practising Muslims and Jews are relatively uncommon.

There are 31 indigenous Indian groups in Venezuela, including the Piaroa, Guajibo and Yanomami in the Amazon, the Guajiro, Yukpa and Bari in the northwest, the Warao in the Orinoco Delta and the Pemon on the Guyana border. While some, such as the Pemon are becoming more accessible to outsiders, others, such as the Yanomami, are secluded and remain detached from the outside world. The communities vary in size. The largest is the Guajiro, with some 50,000 members, followed by the Warao with 20,000 and the Pemon with 6,000. All have individual languages, most of which have evolved from three root tongues: Caribe, Araguaco and Chibcha. Some tribes speak independent languages, of which the better-known are those of the Warao and Yanomami tribes.

Nowadays, land developers and gold diggers from Brazil are becoming a serious threat to the existence of certain tribes, especially the Yanomami. Various organizations, for example CONIVE (The National Indian Council of Venezuela) act to preserve the land and culture of the Indian people.

Money and Costs

The Venezuelan currency is the Bolívar (Bs). Locals sometimes call it the ‘Bolo’. It can be exported and imported in unlimited quantities. You can buy Bolívares before coming to Venezuela, but it can take time for them to be ordered and you will get a better exchange rate in Venezuela.

The US$ is the most commonly accepted foreign currency in Venezuela, so it is recommended to carry cash and traveller’s cheques in US$. At present, banks do not change cheques or foreign currency, and tourists have to go to exchange offices. As these are mostly found in larger cities and airports, it is wise to obtain sufficient Bolívares before taking a trip to the interior.

Credit cards are widely accepted, but a surcharge of up to 10% is often applied. Most commonly accepted are MasterCard/Eurocard, American Express and Visa. You can also use a credit card to withdraw money from automatic cash machines, which usually dispense up to 100,000 Bs per day. If you require more, you will have to make a transaction over the counter. Venezuelan banks can get very crowded so allow at least 2 hours for this.


Accommodation: Prices range depending on whether you are stringing up a hammock or staying in lavish hotels. A basic double room with bathroom will generally cost between US$15 – 30 per night. Air-conditioned rooms are more expensive.

Food: A decent meal in a local restaurant will cost between US$7 – 20.

Drinks: Beer and soft drinks cost around 50c (per 222ml bottle). Spirits are also cheap and a liter bottle of rum is about US$3.5.

Nightclubs: These vary. Some are free, others may charge up to US$10. Sometimes drinks are included.

Cinemas: US$2-10, depending on size and quality.

Transport: national buses work out at roughly US$2 per hour’s journey. Local bus rides are cheap and cost around 50c.

The prices quoted above are average figures, so you can spend considerably less if you look around for cheap places. Prices rise at Christmas time and holidays.

There are only a few discounts for foreign students or young people. Sometimes you can get a 10% discount when paying in cash - always ask.


A thrifty backpacker can live adequately on a daily budget of US$18 -30. This would probably include basic accommodation, one decent meal, drinks, snacks and the odd bus ride.


Venezuela has both public and private healthcare services. The public health service is run by the government and offers free treatment but charges for prescriptions. Conditions, however, are often different to what tourists may be used to. Private hospitals offer a higher standard of treatment but these require large deposits or a credit card, even for emergencies, and can be very expensive. The private ambulance service in Venezuela will also cost a lot to use. Public ambulances can be found at Police and National Guard checkpoints (alcabala) all over the country or called from the nearest hospital or the Defensa Civil in the case of an emergency.

For minor illnesses or health problems, Venezuela has many good pharmacies which stock almost all brand medicines, and you can buy most brands sold at home, often at a cheaper price. Pharmacists will give you free advice, and you can purchase most medication without a prescription.

No vaccinations are mandatory for Venezuela unless you are travelling from an infected country, in which case officials may ask to see a vaccination certificate.

Many diseases can be easily avoided if the right precautions are taken. Always drink bottled water and check that ice in drinks is made from purified water, which is usually the case. Generally, you should not have any problems with Venezuelan food, even from street vendors, but do give your stomach enough time to adjust and be careful in the first few days.

Care also needs to be taken when out in the sun. The sun in Venezuela is very direct and extremely strong, so be sure to wear a hat and use a high protector sunscreen to avoid sunburn and sunstroke.


The Cholera vaccination gives little protection against the disease and only lasts for six months. Cholera is caught mainly from contaminated water, thus it can be easily avoided if the above precautions are taken.

Hepatitis ‘A’
Hepatitis ‘A’ is a common disease among travellers. It is spread by contaminated food and water, and can be serious. Long term immunity (10 years or more) can be obtained from the Havrix vaccination, which consists of an initial injection and a booster six to twelve months later. Gamma Globulin is another form of prevention. It is not a vaccination but an antibody collected from blood donations. It usually lasts for up to six months, thus should be administered as close as possible to departure. It does not, however, provide the same protection as Havrix.

Hepatitis ‘B’
Hepatitis ‘B’ is a disease spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. It can be transmitted through blood transfusions, use of unclean needles or sexual activity. Any travellers visiting a country known to have many carriers of the disease, where blood transfusions may not be adequately screened or where sexual contact is possible should consider a hepatitis B vaccination. The vaccination consists of three injections, with at least four weeks between the first and second shots, and five months between the second and third.

Tetanus & Diphtheria
Tetanus is a potentially fatal disease and occurs in wound infection. Diphtheria, a throat infection, can also be fatal. Everyone should be vaccinated against these diseases. In both cases, ten yearly boosters follow an initial course of three injections.

Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a virus spread by mosquitos and is found in many parts of South America. In many countries, yellow fever is now the only vaccine that is a legal entry requirement, but is usually only enforced with travellers coming from infected areas. The vaccination is very effective, and one injection lasts for ten years. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to travel in or around South America. The vaccination may pose some risk during pregnancy, but is still advisable for women travelling to high-risk areas. People allergic to eggs may not be able to have the vaccination and this should be discussed with your doctor.

Malaria is a potentially fatal disease spread by a certain species of mosquito: the anopheles. Antimalarial drugs do not prevent infection, but reduce the risk of serious illness by killing the malarial parasites during their development. There are many factors to consider when choosing an anti-malarial and up-to-date, expert advice should be sought. Those travelling to high-risk areas where medical attention may be difficult to obtain are advised to carry a treatment dose of medication, in case symptoms develop. Malaria, however, is best prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. The risk can be significantly reduced by noting the following tips:

  • Wear light colored trousers and long sleeved tops between dusk and dawn.

  • Avoid wearing perfume or aftershave.

  • Sleep in properly screened rooms and spray the room with insecticide.

  • If sleeping elsewhere, use a mosquito net which has been treated with pyrethroids.

  • Apply mosquito repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) to all areas of exposed skin.

  • A course of vitamin B complex tablets can help deter biting insects.


  • Remember that many Europeans and South Americans write the day first, then the month, then year (i.e. December 3, 1999 is written 3.12.99). This is the case in Venezuela.

  • It is better to be a few minutes early than a few minutes late for appointments in Venezuela, so allow yourself plenty of time to compensate for traffic - which can be a serious problem in Caracas.

  • The workweek is Mon. to Fri., 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with at least an hour break for lunch (many executives take a two-hour lunch).

  • Stores are open from 9:00 a.m. to noon and again from 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. or later. Shopping malls stay open later.

  • Banks generally are open Mon. to Fri., 8:30 to 11:30 and 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Post offices stay open through lunch, except in small towns.

  • Avoid scheduling appointments two or three days before a holiday.


  • Topics to avoid discussing are the government, personal relationships, and the influence of the U.S.A. on South America.

  • It is considered rude to ask direct questions about a person's family.

  • It will be appreciated if you learn about Venezuela's political and cultural history.

  • Present your business card immediately following an introduction. Treat business cards with respect.

  • Have your business card printed with Spanish on one side and English on the other. Be sure your position is clearly indicated.


  • Initiate business contacts through local intermediaries. They can make introductions for you at the correct levels, and in the appropriate social circles.

  • Letters, brochures, and other documents should be translated into Spanish.

  • Follow up letters with a phone call made during the morning business hours in Venezuela.

  • If you receive a reply from a Venezuelan in English, you may begin using English in correspondence.

  • In a business meeting, begin by getting to know everyone. Don't rush into a discussion of the deal. At the same time, do not try to be instant friends with your prospects.

  • In Venezuela, there are usually two types of businesspeople, with distinct differences in their styles of conducting business. Among the older generation, you will find people who will want to get to know you personally first, and will respond to you as an individual, rather than to your company and proposal. Among the younger generation, your contact may have been educated in the U.S.A., and may relate more to your firm, the proposal you are presenting, etc, rather than to you personally.

  • It is best to send an individual, rather than a team for the first contact with a Venezuelan prospect. Later, you should send other members of your team.

  • Negotiations proceed much more slowly in Venezuela than in the U.S.A. Be patient.

  • Avoid dominating the conversation or putting pressure on your Venezuelan colleagues. Venezuelans like to be in control.

  • Do not mention bringing in an attorney until negotiations are complete.

  • After the first business contact in Venezuela, it is appropriate for your firm's senior executive to write to the senior executive of the Venezuelan firm expressing thanks.

  • The focus of the business deal should be long-term, not focused on immediate returns.


  • It is good practice to follow up morning appointments with an invitation to lunch, where you can continue your business discussions.

  • Arrange with the waiters to have all restaurant and entertainment bills given to you if you have initiated the invitations. This is particularly important for women, since they may encounter some resistance from their male Venezuelan counterparts in paying the check.

  • Unlike lunch, dinner is for socializing, not for business.

  • Dinner begins at 8:30 or later, and lasts until midnight.

  • Spouses are usually invited to dinner.

  • Businesswomen should be aware that going out alone with Venezuelan businessmen may be misconstrued.

  • The two senior executives should sit facing each other.

  • The senior visiting business person may give a toast offering good wishes for the negotiations, adding a memorized Spanish phrase about the pleasure of being with Venezuelans.

  • If you are invited for a meal at a Venezuelan home, be aware that this is a sign of close friendship and not to be taken lightly.


  • Venezuela is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (G.M.T. -4), or one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (E.S.T. +1).

  • Electrical current varies between 110 and 220 volts, different from that used in North America (110-125 volts). Electrical appliances designed for North America may need converters to "step down" this higher voltage to the level required to operate. Some appliances cannot be converted for use elsewhere because they require 60 cycles-per-second (again, found primarily in North America), or have other requirements. These include TVs, VCRs, clocks, microwave ovens, older typewriters and vacuum cleaners.

  • Venezuela's electrical wall sockets differ in shape from the sockets used in North America. Electrical adaptor plugs are available to slip over the plugs of North American appliances for use in such sockets. If the appliance being taken overseas has a polarized plug (one blade wider than the other), be certain that the adaptor will accept such a plug. If it has a third grounding prong, it would be wise to obtain slip-on adaptor plugs that also provide grounding in the foreign sockets.


Health Tips for International Travelers

Most people who travel internationally stay
healthy. But a your chances of falling ill depend
on what you do, where you go, and how long
you stay. If you hike or camp in rural areas, eat
from street vendors, spend time outdoors after
dusk, or drink tap water, you expose yourself to
a vast array of bugs. This is particularly true in
developing countries. And the longer you are
away, the greater the chances are of getting sick.

For those traveling to developing countries, the rule of thumb is:

Be careful what you eat and drink, wash your hands well and often, get vaccinated before
leaving home, and beware of mosquitoes.

Traveler's diarrhea

The most common ailment to strike travelers is diarrhea. It is caused by ingesting viruses,
bacteria, or parasites found in contaminated food and water. It is often caused by a strain of bacteria (Escherichia coli) that may be different from those in your country. The locals will have had considerable exposure and will have developed immunity. This explains why they aren’t sick all the time.

Your risk is highest in food bought from street vendors. It is lowest in private homes.

Safe Drinks:

Boiled water or hot beverages made with boiled water.
Canned or bottled carbonated beverages drunk straight from the container.
Beer or wine.

Not Safe:

Tap water.
Bulk-stored water on trains, buses, or planes.
Ice made from tap water even when added to alcoholic drinks.
Milk or food made from milk products.

Safe Foods:

Bread or other dry baked goods.
Hard-boiled eggs with the shell intact–you break the shell.
Fresh-cooked foods and soup served steaming hot.
Fruits or vegetables that you peel yourself.

Not Safe:

Raw or rare fish, shellfish, or meat.
Raw vegetables.
Fruit you cannot peel–berries or grapes.


Even when cooked, certain fish can have toxins in their flesh. Barracuda and puffer fish are
not safe. In general, large fish are the most hazardous. If the fish does not fit on your plate, or
weighs more than 5 pounds, don't eat it.

If you still develop traveler's diarrhea, how sick will you be?

Most cases are uncomfortable, but not life threatening.
Symptoms include at least three unformed stools over 24
hours, nausea, vomiting, cramps, bloating, and
weakness, all lasting from 3 to 5 days. However,
dehydration can occur quickly in infants, the elderly, or
anyone with underlying illness.

What medicines prevent it?

Most people should not take antibiotics every day to prevent diarrhea. Some antibiotics can
cause side effects. However, daily antibiotics may be appropriate for those prone to diarrhea
during travel and for those with underlying diseases. Please discuss this with your own

For prevention, healthy adults and children over seven can take bismuth subsalicylate
(Pepto-Bismol) four times a day with meals and at bedtime for up to 3 weeks.

How do you treat it?

Certain antibiotics will shorten the time you have diarrhea and decrease other symptoms.
Ask your physician for a prescription if you are going to an area where you are at risk of
travelers' diarrhea. Take the antibiotics only if you have passed three unformed stools in a 24-hour period.

Antidiarrheal medicines are helpful for adults and children over 3 who have mild diarrhea
with little or no fever. Take a supply with you or purchase it abroad if you need it. Both
bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and Loperamide HCL (Immodium A-D) are
recommended. It is NOT a good idea to use these medications if you have a high fever (102° F or higher) because they can worsen the problem.

Do not use antidiarrheal medicines:

For more than 2 days there is have no improvement.
For a fever over 101° F(38.3° C).
For bloody or severe diarrhea.
For infants and pregnant women.

Drink clear, bottled, flavored fluids. Eat salted crackers, bread, bananas or other fruit you
peel yourself, baked potatoes, and boiled or baked chicken. Stay away from dairy products.

See a doctor if you have these symptoms:

Severe, bloody, or profuse diarrhea.
Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days with no improvement.
Fever and chills for more than 24 hours.
Inability to keep down fluids, which can lead to dehydration.

Infants and children:

Buy oral rehydration solution (ORS) to prevent dehydration. ORS is a package of salts and electrolytes that matches body fluids and replaces what you lose through diarrhea. It must be mixed with boiled or treated water according to package directions. It is available at any pharmacy abroad. If you are traveling with children, don't wait for diarrhea to start before looking for ORS–keep it on hand.

Adults can take a glass of ORS with every bowel movement and drink a glass every hour.
Offer ORS to babies and children between feedings. Offer as much as the child will take.

General precautions for babies and children:

Breast-feeding is the best protection against infection for infants under 6 months. If
you use formula, mix it with boiled water.

Bathe babies in water that has been boiled for 1-3 minutes, since babies may
swallow tub water. But be sure to cool it before giving the bath.

Teach children to stay away from stray dogs and cats.
Do not allow children to bathe or swim in fresh water.

Vaccines for Preventable Diseases

If possible, do not travel while you are ill. It is not pleasant to be ill in unfamiliar
surroundings without your friends and family to help you.

If you take medications, take enough to last you through the trip. If possible, take extra
supplies in case you lose some. Do not pack your medications in your suitcase. (Put them in your carry-on luggage.) Take first-aid supplies. Bring a list of your medications (with the chemical, or generic, name, not just the brand names: Brands may be different in different countries). Take condoms with you if you plan to be sexually active, and use them, or have your partner use them, every time. HIV may be very common in some countries. Consider bringing toilet paper and feminine hygiene products if this applies. (They may be hard to get in rural areas.)

Diseases that are rare at home may be common in other countries.

Make sure all adults and children over 2 have received all vaccines that your own country
requires or recommends.

Adults and children over 2 who will be traveling to certain developing countries for more
than 30 days should also receive immunizations against typhoid fever, meningococcal
meningitis, rabies, yellow fever for Africa and South America, and Japanese encephalitis for rural areas of Asia.

Children under 2 should have all vaccines required for their age. If you are going to be
away for more than 2 months, make sure your child receives needed immunizations on

Children under 2 who are going to developing areas for more than 30 days need rabies
vaccine if there is any risk of their being in contact with dogs.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and other diseases are spread through
mosquito bites in tropical and subtropical areas. The best prevention is to avoid being bitten by infected mosquitoes. How? Use insect repellent containing DEET (diethyl toluamide) on your skin and clothes, wear clothes that cover most of your body, when possible stay indoors in screened or air-conditioned areas during dusk to dawn hours, and use bed nets if sleeping in non-air-conditioned rooms. Do not use DEET at a concentration higher than 10% on children.

The most serious mosquito-borne disease is malaria. If not treated, it can be fatal. It is a risk in tropical and subtropical parts of Africa, Asia, and South America, especially rural areas. To prevent malaria, medication must be taken before, during, and after your trip. See your doctor or travel clinic to obtain required prescriptions.

Keep drugs in covered containers away from children. Overdoses can be fatal.

Malaria symptoms vary. However, most people have fever, chills, sweats, and headaches in cycles.

If you become ill with chills and fever after being in an area with malaria, you must inform
your doctor about your recent travel. Delaying treatment of falciparum malaria, a severe
form that develops quickly, can have grave consequences. You should insist on a blood test for malaria even if your doctor thinks you have the "flu." In some parts of the world doctors seldom see a case of malaria, which makes misdiagnosis a possibility.

For more detailed information on malaria prevention, required vaccinations, and travelers'
health, call the Center for Disease Control Fax Information Service at (888) 232-3299 or view the Web site:

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