Skip to main content

El Salvador

Risk / Health Info for El Salvador

What vaccinations should I get for El Salvador?

In addition to the regular shots, travellers to El Salvador are recommended to protect themselves against hepatitis A and typhoid, which are nasty gastrointestinal diseases spread by contaminated food and water.

Children, people who plan to visit El Salvador often, stay a long time or explore remote areas, and people who will work in healthcare or dentistry should get vaccinated against hepatitis B, which is spread through blood and other body fluids. It is also spread via shared needles, unprotected sex, tattooing and piercing, and invasive medical procedures.

Rabies is present in El Salvador, so people – especially children – who might be around dogs or other animals should make sure their shots are up to date. Always get prompt medical attention for any animal scratch or bite, even if you’ve been inoculated.

What are the medical facilities like in El Salvador?

The publicly funded hospitals and clinics in El Salvador tend to be substandard and have limited resources, but the private facilities are better equipped. Most healthcare providers speak only Spanish. Your regular health insurance will not cover you when you leave Canada, so check with your provincial or territorial health authority before you leave for El Salvador. Make sure you have sufficient funds to cover emergencies and evacuation if necessary.

Protect your health in El Salvador

You can be exposed to many mosquito-borne illnesses including chikungunya, dengue fever and Zika in El Salvador. There is also a limited risk of malaria in El Salvador. Take precautions against getting bitten: always use a reliable insect repellent, wear pre-treated clothing that cover as much skin as possible, and sleep under a bed net or in air-conditioned accommodation.

To avoid “travellers’ diarrhea” and other gastrointestinal illnesses in El Salvador, drink commercially bottled water. Avoid using ice cubes, and remember to avoid eating food that you can’t peel it, cook or boil it.

Altitude in El Salvador
Parts of El Salvador are higher than 2,400m, and travellers planning to spend time at a high altitude should take steps to protect themselves against the potentially life-threatening acute mountain sickness. Your healthcare provider can help with this.
Chikungunya virus in El Salvador
Cases of Chikungunya virus have been reported in El Salvador. It is spread by day-biting mosquitoes and you can guard against infection by covering up and using mosquito repellents. Infection results in joint pains, fever, rash and headache. It clears up after a few days, but some patients are left with swollen and painful joints for weeks or even years afterwards.
Dengue fever in El Salvador
There have been cases of the mosquito-borne virus dengue fever in El Salvador. Dengue fever is also known as breakbone fever because of the severe bone, joint and muscular pains it causes, in addition to flu-like fever and headache. There is no vaccine for dengue fever. Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents (50% DEET) and by wearing protective clothing. Sleeping with mosquito nets is also recommended.
Malaria in El Salvador
Malaria prophylaxis will be required for some parts of El Salvador at certain times of year. There is no malaria vaccine, but there are anti-malaria drugs that should be taken before, during and after travelling to certain at-risk countries. Speak with your healthcare provider six weeks before your trip, as not all prophylaxis regimes are appropriate for all regions and all individuals.
Zika in El Salvador
Global Affairs Canada has issued a warning about the risk of contracting Zika in El Salvador. Zika is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, and infection during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects. Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should take advice before travelling to El Salvador. Zika symptoms include rash, itch, mild fever, headache, red eyes, muscle and joint pains. Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents (50% DEET) and by wearing protective clothing. Mosquito nets and air conditioning should be used when sleeping.
Schistosomiasis in El Salvador
The schistosomiasis parasite enters humans through the skin during contact with fresh water. To prevent infection, avoid swimming or paddling in lakes and streams in El Salvador. This condition is also known as bilharzia.

Recommended Vaccines for El Salvador

Vaccine NameCourse
Hepatitis A2 Doses
Hepatitis A and B combined (adult)3 Doses
Hepatitis A and B combined (paediatric)2 Doses
Hepatitis A and typhoid (combined)1 Dose
Hepatitis A (paediatric)1 Dose
Hepatitis B3 Doses
Hepatitis B (paediatric)3 Doses
Malaria prophylaxis
This is a general list of travel vaccinations and immunisations for El Salvador. Specific vaccines can only be determined after appointment with our travel nurse.

About El Salvador

El Salvador has a tropical climate and dark sandy beaches along Central America’s Pacific coast. Although it is vulnerable to many earthquakes and extreme weather events such as hurricanes and drought, it has attractive hot springs and other geothermal features.

top Tips for travelling to El Salvador

El Salvador has some fascinating ecotourism opportunities offered by community groups. It is also an increasingly popular surfing destination. Lake Ocotepeque is a crater lake near El Salvador, and is surrounded by some very expensive private houses, some of which offer bed-and-breakfast lodging.