The preventive measures
you need to take while traveling in the Caribbean
depend on the areas you visit and the length of time
you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in
this document in most areas of this region.
diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers,
can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites,
which can contaminate food or water. Infections may
cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella,
and parasites), fever (typhoid
fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage
(hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water
are safe. (See
is a preventable infection that can be fatal if left
untreated. Prevent infection by taking prescription
antimalarial drugs and protecting yourself against
mosquito bites (see
below). Travelers to all areas of Haiti are at
risk for malaria. Travelers to rural areas of the
Dominican Republic, especially in the provinces
bordering Haiti, are at risk for malaria. No risk in
resorts in the Dominican Republic. The other Caribbean
islands listed are not malaria-risk areas. Travelers
to Haiti and rural Dominican Republic should take
chloroquine to prevent malaria. For additional
information on malaria risk and prevention, see Malaria
Information for Travelers to the Caribbean.
A certificate of yellow
fever vaccination may be required for entry
into certain areas of these countries if you are
arriving from a tropical South American or sub-Saharan
African country. For detailed information, see Comprehensive
Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements.
are diseases carried by insects that also occur in
this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites
below) will help to prevent these diseases.
a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in
parts of Antigua, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe,
Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, and St. Lucia. Do
not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated
swimming pools) in these countries. (For more
information, please see the Swimming
Precautions on the Making
Travel Safe page.)
CDC recommends the
following vaccines (as appropriate for age):
See your doctor at
least 4�6 weeks before your trip to allow time for
shots to take effect.
A or immune globulin (IG) should be considered
if travel to areas of questionable sanitation is
B, if you might be exposed to blood (for
example, health-care workers) or travelers who
have sexual contact with the local population,
stay longer than 6 months in Haiti or the
Dominican Republic, or might be exposed through
if you might be exposed to wild or domestic
animals through your work or recreation.
particularly if you are visiting developing
countries in this region.
fever, for travelers going outside urban areas
in Trinidad and Tobago.
- As needed, booster
doses for tetanus-diphtheria
B vaccine is now recommended for all infants
and for children ages 11�12 years who did not
receive the series as infants.
should take the following precautions, no matter the
- Wash hands often
with soap and water.
- Because motor
vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury
among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid
travel at night if possible and always use seat
- Always use latex
condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other
sexually transmitted diseases.
- Don�t eat or
drink dairy products unless you know they have
- Don�t share
needles with anyone.
- Eat only
thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables
you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it,
cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- Never eat
undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and
unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is
particularly dangerous to persons who have liver
disease or compromised immune systems.
undeveloped areas should take the following
To stay healthy,
- Drink only bottled
or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in
cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks,
and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water
safer by BOTH filtering through an �absolute
1-micron or less� filter AND adding iodine
tablets to the filtered water. �Absolute
1-micron filters� are found in camping/outdoor
- If you visit an
area where there is risk for malaria,
take your malaria
prevention medication before, during, and
after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a
yourself from mosquito bites:
mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts
and long pants.
- Use insect
repellents that contain DEET
- Apply insect
repellent to exposed skin. Mosquitoes that
transmit malaria bite between dusk and dawn.
- Unless you are
staying in air-conditioned or well-screened
housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with
the insecticide permethrin.
- For more
information on protecting yourself from insect
bites and DEET see Protection
against Mosquitoes and Other Arthropods.
- To prevent fungal
and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry,
and do not go barefoot.
To avoid getting
What you need to bring
- Long-sleeved shirt
and long pants to wear whenever possible to
prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria,
- Insect repellent
- Bed nets
impregnated with permethrin (can be purchased in
camping or military supply stores).
antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have
- Iodine tablets and
portable water filters to purify water if bottled
water is not available. See
above for more detailed information about
medications: make sure you have enough to last
during your trip, as well as a copy of the
After you return
If you have visited a
malaria-risk area in Haiti or the Dominican Republic,
continue taking your chloroquine for 4 weeks after
leaving the risk area. Travelers who become ill with a
fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a
malaria-risk area and up to 1 year after returning
home should seek prompt medical attention and should
tell the physician their travel history.
Ask your doctor or
check the CDC web sites for information about how to
protect yourself against diseases that occur in the
Caribbean, including the following:
For more information
about these and other diseases, please check the Diseases