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Before You Go: Traveler Healthcare in Jamaica

Zika Virus Warning

Jamaica‘s medical facilities range from satisfactory in Kingston and tourist areas, to more limited elsewhere. Emergency services are available in Kingston and Montego Bay. Be prepared to pay in cash prior to treatment, even in emergency situations. Check that you have a travel insurance policy that covers medical evacuation in case you may need specialized or prolonged treatment.

Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink in Jamaica. You can also find bottled water pretty much anywhere you go.

Mosquito-Borne Viruses



Dengue Fever: You should take precautions against mosquito bites in Indonesia, particularly if you’re visiting during the rainy season of June to December. Be sure to pack mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET.

Dengue fever is a virus caused by mosquito bites, and is more usually more prevalent in cities with high population densities. Symptoms of Dengue fever include headaches, fever, a skin rash, vomiting, and joint and muscle pain. At the time of posting, there’s no commercially available vaccination against Dengue fever. Dengue fever is not contagious.

Zika Virus: The Zika virus is caused by mosquito bites and can be spread through sex. It is a mild form of Dengue fever, and though the Zika virus doesn’t typically cause any symptoms, it can cause birth defects.

You can limit your risk of Zika virus-causing mosquito bites by packing mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET. At the time of posting, there is no commercially available vaccination for the Zika virus.

Chikungunya: Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted by mosquito bites. Common symptoms include fever and joint pain, as well as headaches, muscle pain and a rash.

Take precautions against bites by packing mosquito netting, full-coverage clothing and footwear, as well as mosquito repellent that contains at least 35% DEET. At the time of posting, there’s no commercially available vaccination against Chikungunya. Chikungunya is not contagious.

If you’re bringing prescription medications:
  1. Check to see if there are restrictions on your medication in your destination country, especially if the medication contains narcotics, amphetamines or other often controlled substances
  2. Bring medications in their original, labeled container. Never carry loose medication
  3. Include your dated prescription signed by your doctor, certifying the condition the medications are prescribed for, dosages and their generic drug names. Ensure the name on the prescription, container and your passport all match.
  4. If you need syringes or needles, your doctor includes their need on the prescription.
  5. Before you leave, find out how you can legally access medications in the case of loss, theft or emergency – even OTC medication may require documentation from your doctor. Never have controlled substances mailed to you
  6. If legal, consider bring a second container of any essential medications, in case one is lost or stolen. Pack the primary bottle in your carry on, and the second one in another location. Personal-use quantity restrictions may limit you to 30-or 90-day supplies
Travel Health Insurance Checklist:
  1. Investigate travel health insurance options
  2. Be sure the plan includes any pre-existing conditions you have, and be sure to declare them before you go
  3. See if you need an “Extreme Sports” add-on policy if you’re planning activities like scuba diving or spelunking
  4. Find out the payment or reimbursement process and 24-hour emergency coverage contact