Health and Diseases in Bolivia

Vaccination protection

When entering Bolivia, according to ethnicityology, all travelers are required to have a valid yellow fiber vaccination.

The Federal Foreign Office’s health service also recommends the following vaccinations: against diphtheria, tetanus, hepathitis A and whooping cough (pertussis), for longer stays (more than 4 weeks) also typhoid, hepatitis B and rabies. Furthermore, the standard vaccinations for children should be up to date in accordance with the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute.


The diurnal mosquito Stegomyia aegypti transmits dengue fever. Serious damage to health, including death, occurs occasionally. There is no preventive vaccination against dengue, the only protection is the use of mosquito nets and mosquito repellants.

Most of the nearly 2,000 reported cases in 2006 came from Santa Cruz and Beni.


Around 100,000 cases of malaria are reported in Bolivia each year. Nocturnal Anopheles mosquito is responsible for the transmission of malaria. If malaria (especially tropical malaria, which is rare in Bolivia), remains untreated, it can be fatal in non-immune Europeans. Malaria can break out weeks and months after the actual mosquito bite. Therefore, even after returning from Bolivia, if you have a fever, you should consult a doctor who should be advised of your stay in the malaria area.

There is a high risk of malaria in northern Bolivia, on the border with Brazil (Pando and Beni departments, especially in the Guayaramerin, Puerto Rico and Riberalta regions and in the lower regions of Cochabamba, Tarija and La Paz). There is a medium risk in the other rural regions that are deeper than 2,500 m. There is little or no risk of malaria in the Bolivian cities and in the departments of La Paz, Oruro and Potosi and the provinces of Los Andes, Ingavi and Omasuyos.

Depending on the route, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) may be recommended. There are various prescription drugs on the market for malaria prophylaxis (for example Doxycycline, Malarone or Lariam). An experienced tropical or travel doctor can advise you on the choice of medication, their intolerance and side effects and personal adjustment.

In addition to malaria, mosquitoes transmit other infectious diseases, which is recommended as a preventive protection when traveling in Bolivia

  • wear light-colored clothing covering the whole body (long trousers and shirts). This both during the day (dengue fever) and in the evening (malaria).
  • Regularly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body
  • to use a mosquito net in the regions mentioned above


The risk of a life-threatening infection with HIV / AIDS always arises from sexual contact and drug use (for example unclean cannulas or syringes or cannulas). The use of condoms is therefore always recommended, especially with casual acquaintances.

Diarrhea and cholera

Most diarrheal illnesses can be prevented with proper drinking water and food hygiene.

Some basic rules

Never drink tap water but, for example, bottled water. If bottled water is not available, filter and disinfect water or boil it off. Also use drinking water to brush your teeth or wash the dishes. Peel, boil or disinfect food. Make sure that no flies get to your food. Hands should be washed often with soap, always after a bowel movement, before preparing food and before eating. If appropriate, disinfect your hands as well, use disposable towels.

Altitude sickness

Due to the enormous heights (the airport of La Paz is at 4,070 m, the city center is still at 3,600 m), symptoms of altitude sickness can occur in the first few days after arrival. Due to the high altitude, the air on the Altiplano is relatively low in oxygen and the atmospheric pressure is low. The solar radiation (especially the ultraviolet part) is very intense here, and a lot of heat is radiated overnight. Before traveling to this region, you should seek expert advice.

Medical supplies

In rural Bolivia, medical care is often inadequate from a technical, technical and hygienic point of view. It is therefore strongly recommended that you have adequate health insurance and reliable travel repatriation insurance. A tropical or travel doctor can advise you on equipping your first-aid kit.

Medical treatment and hospital stays are sometimes considerably more expensive in Bolivia than in Germany. German health insurances often do not pay these costs or only partially. It is therefore strongly recommended that you consult the responsible health insurance provider before taking out health insurance or starting your journey. In the case of treatment costs in Bolivia, the patient usually has to show up.

Before traveling to Bolivia, you should seek advice from a tropical / travel doctor. In the German diplomatic missions in Bolivia, lists of recommended German or English-speaking doctors can be obtained on request.

In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:

A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information and liability for any damage that may occur cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Health and Diseases in Bolivia

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