Panama Travel Advice

Health Concerns

The biggest concern for travellers to Panama is risks to physical health. Food and water-borne diseases are a possibility, as well as insect bites. Tropical diseases are also a realistic threat, but can be avoided if the correct steps are taken.

Illnesses from Mosquitoes

Yellow fever, transmitted by bites from an infected Aedes mosquito, is a virus that infects the entire body without proper vaccination. Aedes mosquitoes predominantly bite during daylight. All travellers over nine months of age who make the journey east of the Canal Zone should receive this vaccine. Those travelling in the Canal Zone, in Panama City, or areas west in the country are safe from the threat of yellow fever.

Other mosquito-borne illnesses pose a risk to your health. Dengue fever and malaria are common illnesses in various areas throughout Panama, including Panama City and the Canal Zone. Dengue Fever can occur at any time of the year. For dengue fever, there is no vaccine or treatment available. In the Darien region, an outbreak of Equine Encephalitis carried by mosquitoes has resulted in major medical ailments. Therefore, it is wise to be mindful of any mosquitoes in your area and take special precautions to prevent being stung.  It is also recommended to seek medical treatment if bitten by a mosquito and feel unwell as a result of the sting. You can find out more about the proper precautions to take prior to your trip to Panama by clicking here.

Other Physical Health Risks

Other risks to physical health include hepatitis (both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B) and rabies. Hepatitis A is transmitted from food or water that is contaminated. Strict water, food, and personal hygiene protections are suggested, along with a vaccine prior to departure. Hepatitis B affects roughly 2% of Panama’s population, and can transmit the infection through blood or bodily fluids. Protective precautions are required to minimize the risk of infection. Travellers are not considered to be at risk of being infected with Hepatitis B.

Driving Around Panama

Panama has greatly improved their road system. All areas except for Darien Province have a very modern road system. Continued construction will further improve the quality of roads, but signage is poor and special precautions must be made whilst driving. Because of the good quality of roads, sports cars in Panama is an attractive option.

Seat beats must be worn by driver and passengers in the front seat. If involved in a car accident, the law requires you to wait with your car at the scene until traffic police arrives. As drink driving is not monitored heavily, it is very wise to employ safe driving methods.

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