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Panama Travel and Malaria
If you are visiting Panama City for a few days and staying in an air conditioned hotel then malaria and other tropical diseases in Panama are not an issue. Likewise if you are only taking day tours in and around the city or using insect repellant if you visit jungle areas like Barro Colorado. For bird watching in the old Panama Canal Zone bug spray and long pants and shirts will be sufficient. However, if you are going to stay for a prolonged period in Panama’s interior you need to visit you doctor at home at least 8 weeks before departure to start taking medication for malaria prevention. You will need to take this medication during your stay and after you return home.
Panama is a tropical country at the bottom of Central America just before Colombia in South America. Panama has a first world infrastructure and a vibrant capital city, Panama City. Panama has great natural beauty within hours of downtown Panama City. It is in visiting Panama’s interior that a caution or to regarding malaria as well as other tropical diseases is appropriate.
Malaria in Panama
Malaria like several other tropical diseases is carried by a type of mosquito. Therefore using insect repellant and covering exposed skin with long pants and a shirt is usually sufficient for short trips. When you are going to be staying for prolonged periods in areas with high mosquito concentration your risk of getting the disease goes up.
According to the CDC website, “Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. Each year 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This sometimes fatal disease can be prevented and cured. [mosquito netting], insecticides, and antimalarial drugs are effective tools to fight malaria in areas where it is transmitted. Travelers to a malaria-risk area should avoid mosquito bites and take a preventive antimalarial drug.”
The CDC yellow book can be seen on line and contains comprehensive information regarding symptoms, prevention, and treatment. The bottom line remains that if you spend a lot of time in Panama’s interior you should take medication before, during, and after your stay. In addition you should still use bug spray and cover your skin.
Malaria and Other Tropical Diseases in Panama and Perspective
If you are visiting Panama City only whether for business or pleasure, please enjoy the restaurants, casinos, historic sites, and shopping without worrying.
A Note Regarding Malaria and Business in Panama
This article is meant to keep you safe and not scare you off. Panama has Latin America’s highest per capita foreign investment. Panama has had a ten year flood of North American’s buying second homes and retiring on its Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as central highlands. All these business people, retirees, and investors are alive and well and malaria free. If you are interested in investment in Panama, especially in real estate, come to see us at ABPanama. We have over 23 years experience in managing real estate portfolios and do business throughout Panama.