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  Bolivia : Handbook : Health




It is advisable before traveling to Bolivia that you get vaccinated for Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, polio, and malaria in certain regions. There are medical services available in each city of each region.


It is preferable to drink only bottled or boiled water in Bolivia.


Avoid eating food sold on the street. You should also ensure that the shellfish and seafood is fresh and try to eat them cooked. Bolivian food is varied and exquisite, and the best and safest food is found in restaurants.

Sickness and Diseases

Malaria: It is a contagious illness caused by a protozoan parasite in the red blood cells, called plasmodium or Laveran Hematozoon, transmitted by the anopheles mosquito which dwells in humid, marshy areas. The sickness causes fever at regular intervals, following a rhythmic pattern (tertian or quartan fever), anemia, swelling of the spleen and a general alteration of the health. The base treatment includes quinine and synthetic products.
Wear clothes that cover most of the body, repellents and mosquito nets. The mosquito that spreads the sickness is not found over 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) above sea level.

AIDS: The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a sickness caused by the HIV virus (human immunodeficiency virus), that severely alters the infected person’s immune system which is in charge of protecting the body against infectious agents. This alteration prevents the immune system from fulfilling its normal function, allowing microorganisms to enter and cause serious infections in the body, opportunist infections, and serious malignant diseases. It is a contagious illness, that may be transmitted from one person to another through different means: sexual intercourse, through contaminated blood (transfusions, infected syringes) and from mother to son (in the delivery or through breastfeeding).
It is true that the number of infected people has risen in Bolivia, but this increase belongs mainly to the highest risk groups: homosexuals and drug addicts.

Yellow Fever: It is an acute infection caused by a virus that can vary in its risk level, and is characterized by a sudden onset, fever, relatively slow pulse and headaches. The presence of an intense albuminuria, jaundice and hemorrhages, especially upper gastrointestinal bleeding, is frequent. The infection is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and in the jungle by the Haemagogos mosquito. The incubation period lasts from 3 to 6 days, and normally there are no initial symptoms.

Chagas Disease: It is a sickness transmitted by a vector insect, the "kissing bug" (triatomine). This insect carries a microbe in it's blood that acts as a parasite moving in a cyclic pattern between the blood and the cells of the organism. The "kissing bug" only feeds on human and animal blood, and it transmits the microbe through its fecal waste, which is eliminated immediately after stinging. The person affected by the Chagas disease will have acquired a chronic illness that may cause death.

Health care facilities in La Paz

Hospitals and clinics
  Children's Hospital 2245076
  Thorax Institute 2236462
  Laborer's Hospital 2242424
  Maternal Infant Center 2223364

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