Do I Need SHOTS? What about Malaria/Dengue?

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  • Do I need immunization SHOTS to visit Costa Rica?
  • Does Costa Rica have typhoid fever or yellow fever?
  • Do mosquitoes spread Malaria and Dengue, what do I do to protect myself?


Information is good, but TOO MUCH information IF taken out of context can often be perceived differently than originally intended. For example, in an effort to INFORM the would be traveler to Costa Rica, most Travel Books will explain all the different 'tropical' diseases a visitor has the possibility of encountering when visiting the country- this is a good thing, it's informative. BUT, the relative word here is, 'possibility', much different than 'probability' and many people seem to CONFUSE the two. Just because a Travel Book explains the possibilities, doesn't mean the 'probability' is necessarily HIGH, and although in many countries it could be, Costa Rica is NOT one of them.

So, I'll say it: "If you're sticking to the more touristy destinations when visting Costa Rica, the likely hood of catching any 'tropical' disease is fairly low, again, possible but not probable."

Now, if you're venturing OFF the beaten path, volunteering or doing work in remote or impoverished areas of Costa Rica, staying here for extended periods of time or living in areas more susceptible to outbreaks of Dengue or Malaria, such as Limon, then yeah, TOO MUCH information is a GOOD thing and you should be doing your HOMEWORK.

Here's an overview: Travelers Diarrhea is the most common ailment when traveling just about ANYWHERE. Drink bottled water, make sure vegetables and fruits are washed, peeled and cooked. Travel Books on Costa Rica will usually tell you not to use ice cubes or buy your food from street vendors, we do BOTH, never had a problem. Not telling you to... just sayin.

Consult your doctor, but Hepatitis A can be a problem just about anywhere in the WORLD (although for different reasons) so a Hepatitis A vaccination is a good idea regardless where you happen to be traveling. If traces of fecal matter in water and food isn't enough to get this vaccination, I don't know what is.

But in Costa Rica, most travelers are concerned with contacting Dengue or Malaria which are both spread through mosquitoes. Both incidents are low, but if you're concerned or some of the above variables apply to your situation, then the answer is easy, mosquito repellent should be frequently applied, proper attire such as long-sleeves and pants etc, mosquito netting at night and/or coils and in the case of Malaria, maybe the Malaria pill is the perfect option.

*** UPDATED VIDEO ON DENGUE ***


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