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British Virgin Islands



Capital: Tortola

Time Zone: -4 hours.
Tel. Country Code: 809
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical Current 110/60 or 220/50 (voltz/hz) Grounding Adaptor Plugs A, C.

World Health Organization
CDC
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information

Embassies


The nearest U.S. Embassy to the BVI is located in Wildey Business Park in St. Michael, Barbados. The Consular Section can be reached by telephone at 1-246-431-0225, by fax at 1-246-431-0179, or by E-mail at ConsularBridge2@state.gov.
Website: bridgetown.usembassy.gov

• High Commission of Canada
Bishop's Court Hill
St. Michael
Bridgetown
Barbados
Tel: [1] (246) 429-3550
Emergency toll-free to Ottawa: 1-888-949-9993
Fax: [1] (246) 437-7436
E-Mail: bdgtn@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.bridgetown.gc.ca

The British Virgin Islands is a UK overseas Territory.
• Governor's Office
Waterfront Drive
Road Town
Tortola
Tel: [1] (284) 494 2345/2370
Fax: [1] (284) 468-4490
Email: bvigovernor@gov.vg
Website: http://www.dgo.gov.vg
BVI Government: http://www.bvi.gov.vg

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Not required for tourists.

Required Vaccinations: None required.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory, part of the British West Indies, lying about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico. There are about 50 islands in the BVI, many of them uninhabited. Tortola is the main island; other islands include Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. 
For information on travel to the British Virgin Islands, travelers should contact the BVI Department of Immigration at 1-284-494-3471. Visit the Embassy of the British Government web site at http://www.britainusa.com for the most current visa information. Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID). While a U.S. passport is not mandatory for sea travel, it is recommended since it is a more readily recognized form of positive proof of citizenship. The U.S. Department of State recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. 

Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from acupuncture, tattooing or body piercing; when receiving non-sterile medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin sores on an infected person. Recommended for long-term travelers, expatriates, and any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.

Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• In addition to tetanus, all travelers, including adults, should be fully immunized against diphtheria. A booster dose of a diphtheria-containing vaccine (Td or Tdap vaccine) should be given to those who have not received a dose within the previous 10 years.
Note: ADACEL is a new tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine that not only boosts immunity against diphtheria and tetanus, but has the advantage of also protecting against pertussis (whooping cough), a serious disease in adults as well as children. The Tdap vaccine can be administered in place of the Td vaccine when a booster is indicated.

Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers and cruise passengers.

Hospitals / Doctors

Medical care in the British Virgin Islands is limited. Tortola has a small general hospital with an emergency room and limited medical/surgical services. There are several clinics on Tortola, and one clinic in Virgin Gorda. Patients requiring treatment for decompression illness are transferred to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as stand-by antibiotics. Travelers are also advised to obtain travel insurance that provides for medical evacuation to more advanced medical facility in another country in the event of serious illness or injury. Most air ambulance evacuations go to San Juan, Puerto Rico or to the mainland United States.

• Peebles Hospital
Road Town
Tortola
Tel: [1] (284) 494-3497
The hospital has numerous departments including 24-hour emergency, radiology, obstetrics, ICU, pharmacy and pediatrics. There is a hyperbaric chamber at this facility.
A helicopter landing pad is located on the top level of the multi-story car park.
Internet: http://www.bcqs.com/projects/peebles.htm
Peebles Hospital, the main general hospital in Road Town, Tortola, also administers clinics at villages on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and other sister islands. There is also a government dental clinic on Russell Hill.

• The B&F Medical Centre
Mill Mall, Wickhams Cay I
Road Town, Tortola
Tel: [1] (284) 494-2196
E-mail: bfmedical@hotmail.com
Website: www.bfmedicalcomplex.com
Walk-Ins & Emergencies
Family & Child Care
Pharmacy
Med Lab - X-Rays & Ultrasound
Vaccinations
Medical Equipment Rentals

• Eureka Medical Clinics
Road Town, Tortola
The Valley
Virgin Gorda
Tel. [1] (284) 494-2346 (Road Town) or (284) 495-6820 (Virgin Gorda)
Website: http://eurekamedicalclinic.com/default.htm
Founded by Dr. Heskith Vanterpool in 1985, Eureka Medical Clinics the BVI with a range of medical services through general and specialists doctors. Located in the heart of Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, at Geneva Place, near the Round-about, with a second location in The Valley, Virgin Gorda; provides modern diagnostic and treatment facilities. Both see walk-in patients and provide X-ray and CT scan services.

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: The Caribbean has a well-established HIV epidemic and the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the region is now second only to sub-Saharan Africa, making the region the second most affected in the world. The predominant route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is heterosexual contact. Much of this transmission is associated with commercial sex, but the virus is also spreading in the general population. The contribution by men having sex with men is significant but not well documented, due to a general atmosphere of homophobia making data gathering difficult. At one extreme, Haiti has the highest HIV prevalence in the entire western hemisphere (3.8%); at the other, Cuba has one of the lowest (0.1%). The Bahamas (3.3%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.6%) and Guyana (2.4%) are all heavily affected, while Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean country apart from Cuba where it is thought that less than 1% of the population is living with HIV. The overall prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean is estimated to be between 1.1% and 2.2%. (Source: Avert.org)
• The United Nations does not currently publish HIV/AIDS epidemiological fact sheets for the British Virgin Islands and thus specific HIV/AIDS data are not available for this Territory.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with another person’s body fluids or blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.

Dengue Fever: Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in the Caribbean and is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from this region. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases.
• Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours. All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.

A dengue fever map is at: http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/documents/dengue_map.pdf

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic but levels are unclear. Transmission of HEV occurs primarily through contaminated drinking water. In developing countries, prevention of HEV relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 2% to 7%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a low but unclear level in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C — an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Influenza: Influenza is transmitted year-round in the tropics. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months.


Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, and coral.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating coral reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
• Scuba Diving-Hyperbaric Chamber Referral: Divers Alert Network (DAN) maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Through Duke University, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke University Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. In a diving emergency, or for the location of the nearest decompression chamber, call 919-684-8111.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Low risk. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products as well as raw or undercooked food. Peel all fruits.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene helps prevent travelers’ diarrhea.
• A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.
A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of acute diarrhea.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in the Caribbean, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.