Stay Healthy in Bolivia

By | March 22, 2021

Bolivia Everyday Life

Bolivia Life

Current coronavirus warning

Due to the current coronavirus epidemic, the Federal Foreign Office has issued a general travel warning that is updated regularly. Information about return campaigns for stranded German vacationers is also posted here. Travel in the country is currently not possible. Further information can also be found on the website of the German Embassy in La Paz.


The current recommendations of the German Tropical Institute are vaccinations against:

  • tetanus
  • diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • rabies
  • Yellow fever (for the entire lowlands)

The Federal Foreign Office also has current recommendations for Bolivia, a country located in South America according to globalsciencellc. Here are the most important:

Zika virus infection

In the region, a significant increase in mosquito-borne Zika virus infections is currently observed, which are clinically similar to dengue fever, but pose a danger to unborn children. Vaccination, chemoprophylaxis or specific therapy are not available for the foreseeable future.

The Foreign Office therefore recommends that pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant, in coordination with the German Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health (DTG) and the Robert Koch Institute, refrain from avoidable trips to Zika virus outbreak areas, as there is a risk of early childhood Malformations are given when the woman is infected.

In the case of unavoidable trips, care must be taken to consistently apply personal protective measures throughout the day to prevent mosquito bites.

Since sexual transmission is possible, condom use is recommended for 6 months after possible exposure in the outbreak areas during sexual intercourse with pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. Further information on the Zika virus infection can be found on the information sheet from the Health Service of the Federal Foreign Office.

Altitude sickness

Many of the tourist regions of Bolivia are located at extreme heights (La Paz, Lake Titicaca, Oruro, Potosi). Here you should definitely follow some important basic rules in order to avoid altitude sickness, also known as Sorojchi. For the first few days, rest at altitude and avoid physical exertion. Drink only in moderation, for example coca tea (mate de coca) and avoid eating heavily and heavily, smoking or drinking alcohol. Altitude sickness symptoms usually appear a few hours after you reach altitude. Altitude sickness tablets (SorojchiPills) or aspirin. These can also be taken preventively (a few hours before reaching the altitude). To be on the safe side, always consult a doctor before taking it. If headache and weakness persist, you should consume oxygen and consult a doctor.

Yellow fever

Occasional yellow fever outbreaks in the past have resulted in Bolivia temporarily tightening its entry and exit regulations with regard to yellow fever vaccination certificates. Detailed information can be found in the “Medical Information” section of this travel and safety information.


Dengue is transmitted by the diurnal mosquito Stegomyia aegypti. In individual cases, serious damage to health with fatal consequences can occur. It is recommended that you take special care when traveling to endangered areas (lowlands) (mosquito repellants, long-sleeved clothing, etc.).


Around 100,000 malaria cases are reported every year. The transmission occurs through the bite of blood-sucking nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes. If left untreated, malaria tropica, in particular rare but dangerous in Bolivia, is often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after the stay. If a fever occurs during this time, it is necessary to inform the attending physician about the stay in a malaria area.

Depending on the travel profile, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) can be useful. Various prescription drugs (e.g. Malarone, Doxycycline, Lariam) are available on the market for malaria prophylaxis. The choice of medication and its personal adjustment as well as side effects or intolerance to other medications should definitely be discussed with a tropical medicine / travel doctor before taking.

Due to the mosquito-related infection risks mentioned above, we recommend all travelers:

  • to wear body-covering clothing (long trousers, long shirts),
  • all day (dengue, chikungunya, zika) and in the evenings and at night (malaria) to repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body,
  • to sleep under an impregnated mosquito net if necessary.

Chikungunya fever

A relatively new development in Bolivia is the chikungunya fever originating from Africa, which is currently spreading worldwide and triggered by the chikungunya virus. It is a tropical infectious disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and leads to fever and joint pain. So far, the tropical departments of Beni and Santa Cruz have been affected; the city of Santa Cruz recorded most of the cases. However, there have also been cases of the disease in the tropical regions north of the city of La Paz. There is currently no vaccination or other treatment options for the disease.