The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Health Infrastructure Breakdown in Venezuela

Updated June 4, 2018

Key Points
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela.
The country is experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases, and adequate health care is currently not available in most of the country.
If you must travel to Venezuela, then protect yourself by following CDC’s recommendations (below).
What is the current situation?
There has been a breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela. There are shortages of food, water, electricity, medicine, and medical supplies that have contributed to an increasing humanitarian crisis affecting much of the country. Adequate health care is currently not available through the public health system in Venezuela. For this reason, in addition to crime and civil unrest, the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens. Please visit the Department of State Travel Advisory for Venezuela for more information.

Infectious diseases are on the rise, and several large outbreaks are occurring:

During the past year, over 1,000 confirmed cases of measles, including more 50 deaths, have been reported in 9 states.
In the past 2 years, over 1,600 suspected cases of diphtheria, including over 140 deaths, have been reported in 22 states.
In 2017, over 400,000 cases of malaria were reported.
What can travelers do to protect themselves?
CDC recommends that US residents avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela.
If you must travel to Venezuela, then protect yourself by following the health advice of CDC (below) and reviewing the Department of State country information page for Venezuela.

Make an appointment with a travel medicine specialist or your healthcare provider to get needed vaccines and medicines at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave.
CDC recommends all travelers be up to date on all recommended vaccines, such as the Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
CDC recommends all travelers take prescribed medicine to prevent malaria.
Pack a travel health kit with your prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines (enough to last your whole trip, plus a little extra), first aid supplies, and your health insurance card. Authorized humanitarian aid workers may need to pack additional items.
Monitor the Department of State’s Travel Advisory and Alerts for Venezuela.
US citizens should enroll online in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and information about assistance in an emergency.
Prepare for the unexpected.
Leave copies of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home, in case they are lost during travel.
Buy travel health and medical evacuation insurance. If you are injured or get sick during your trip, medical care is likely to be unavailable in Venezuela.
Traveler Information
Health Information for Travelers to Venezuela
Page created: May 15, 2018
Page last updated: May 15, 2018
Page last reviewed: May 15, 2018
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)