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Risk / Health Info for Cuba

Do I need vaccinations for Cuba?

Consult your Canadian Travel Clinics adviser for advice in making sure your shots are up to date for Cuba. Vaccinations can reduce the risk of hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid, which are gastrointestinal illnesses spread by contaminated food and water.

Animals in Cuba can carry rabies, so children especially should be vaccinated, because they may be bitten while playing with dogs or other animals. Other people at risk are cyclists and runners, people who work with animals, and people who venture into remote areas. Always seek urgent medical advice about any animal bite or scratch in Cuba, even if you have had your shots.

Can I get medical treatment in Cuba?

Cuba has adequate healthcare facilities throughout the country, but emergency and ambulance services might be limited especially in rural areas. Many hotels and international clinics in tourist areas provide initial emergency care to foreigners, but you might be referred to a hospital that serves Cuban nationals, which where standards and hygiene practices may not be the same as in Canada. Remember your regular health insurance will not cover you when you leave Canada, so always check with your provincial or territorial health authority and make sure you have adequate funds available for emergency care before you leave for Cuba.

The emergency number in Cuba is 104.

Will I be able to purchase medication in Cuba?

Bring enough quantities of your prescription drugs with you, stored in the original container, and consider bringing extra if you plan to visit remote areas because pharmacies in Cuba often run out of stock.

Protect your health in Cuba

Avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes in Cuba so you reduce the risk of exposure to dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika. Choose clothes with good limb coverage and use a reliable insect repellent. Sleep in air-conditioned accommodations or under nets wherever possible.

Cuban authorities frequently fumigate to combat mosquito-borne diseases. Some travellers may react badly to the chemicals used.

Stick to commercially bottled water, including in your ice cubes, and foods that you can peel yourself or are cooked or boiled.

Make sure you are well informed about travelling to Cuba for medical treatment. Start by checking the Canadian government’s advice on getting medical care abroad.

Chikungunya virus in Cuba
Cases of Chikungunya virus have been reported in Cuba. 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 Cuba
There have been cases of the mosquito-borne virus dengue fever in Cuba. 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.
Zika in Cuba
Global Affairs Canada has issued a warning about the risk of contracting Zika in Cuba. 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 Cuba. 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.

Recommended Vaccines for Cuba

Vaccine NameCourse
Hepatitis A2 Doses
Hepatitis A and typhoid (combined)1 Dose
Hepatitis A (paediatric)1 Dose
Typhoid1 Dose
Typhoid (oral)1 Dose
This is a general list of travel vaccinations and immunisations for Cuba. Specific vaccines can only be determined after appointment with our travel nurse.

About Cuba

Cuba’s tropical climate and rich cultural and natural heritage offer visitors plenty to do. Cuba’s high healthcare standards make it increasingly attractive to medical tourists. There are several smaller islands and archipelagos in addition to the main island.

top Tips for travelling to Cuba

At designated points along main roads in Cuba, certain vehicles are obliged to pick up anyone who wants a lift. This transport service is called El Amarillo, and is attended by government officials in yellow uniforms who will organize your ride for you. You’ll need a bit of Spanish and a flexible schedule, but it is a great way to get around Cuba.