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Cape Verde

Capital: Praia

Time Zone: -1 local time.
Tel. Country Code: 238
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical Current 220/50 (volts/hz). European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug D.

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Resource Links

World Health Organization
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office


The U.S. Embassy is located at Rua Abilio Macedo 6, Praia, on the island of Santiago. The telephone is (238) 260-8900; the fax number is (238) 261-1355; and the web site
• Canadian Embassy: Accredited to Canadian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

Entry Requirements

VVaccinations: Required for travelers coming from infected countries or from Senegal.

Passport Information

The Republic of Cape Verde consists of nine inhabited and several uninhabited volcanic islands off the western coast of Africa. Most are rugged and mountainous; three (Sal, Maio, and Boa Vista) are flat, desert islands with sand beaches. Praia, the capital, is on the island of Santiago, and Cape Verde•s major shipping port is Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Portuguese is the official language.
A passport and visa are required. Visa approval can take several days and Cape Verde issues two types of tourist visas: a single-entry visa valid for up to 90 days or a multiple entry visa valid for one year. You may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Cape Verde, 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20007, tel. (202) 965-6820; or the Consulate General of Cape Verde in Boston (tel. 617-353-0014). Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Cape Verde embassy or consulate. 

Visit the Embassy of Cape Verdeweb site at the most current visa information.

HIV Test: Not required.

Required Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas.

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 who might be exposed to blood or body fluids from unsafe/unprotected sexual contact; from injecting drug use with shared/re-used needles and syringes; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes. Recommended for 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.

Polio: A one-time dose of IPV vaccine is recommended for any traveler >age 18 who completed the primary childhood series but never received an additional dose of polio vaccine as an adult. Available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine).

Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending time outdoors in rural areas where there is an increased the risk of animal bites. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites. Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin in the event of a high-risk animal bite, but does not eliminate the need for treatment with the vaccine.

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.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria 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.

Yellow Fever: Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from, or transiting through, any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas. Not recommended or required otherwise.

Hospitals / Doctors

Medical facilities in Cape Verde are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. There are hospitals in Praia and Mindelo, with smaller medical facilities in other places. The islands of Brava and Santo Ant•o no longer have functioning airports so air evacuation in the event of a medical emergency is nearly impossible from these two islands. Local medical treatment varies in quality and can be inadequate, including medical care in the capital of Paria.
• All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers’ diarrhea or other infections; they should bring drugs for malaria prophylaxis, if needed according to their itinerary. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country.
• Travelers are 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.

Destination Health Info for Travelers

Accidents & Medical Insurance: 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.
• 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.

Cholera: Cholera is reported in areas of the country, but the risk is very low. Cholera vaccine is recommended only for relief workers or health care personnel who are working in a high-risk endemic area under less than adequate sanitary conditions, or travelers who work or live in remote, endemic or epidemic areas and who do not have ready access to medical care. Canada, Australia, and countries in the European Union license an oral cholera vaccine. The cholera vaccine is not available in the United States.
• The main symptom of more severe cholera is copious watery diarrhea.
• Antibiotic therapy is a useful adjunct to fluid replacement in the treatment of cholera by substantially reducing the duration and volume of diarrhea and thereby lessening fluid requirements and shortening the duration of hospitalization.
• A single 1-gm oral dose of azithromycin is effective treatment for severe cholera in adults. This drug is also effective for treating cholera in children. (NEJM:

Dengue Fever: As of October 2009, the Ministry of Health reported 3,367 cases of viral diseases of unknown etiology in 4 islands: Brava, Fogo, Maio, and Santiago. Serological testing confirmed the cause as dengue fever. This is the first reported epidemic of dengue fever in Cape Verde.

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially 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. Sporadic cases may be underdiagnosed or underreported. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, such as swine, and also deer and wild boar, may serve as a viral reservoirs. (HEV is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food.) In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• Hepatitis B is hyperendemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at >8%. 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 but the prevalence is not well documented. 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.

Malaria: There is a very low risk of malaria on the Island of Sao Tiago. The last outbreak was reported in 2001. Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn.
• Malaria prophylaxis is not routinely recommended at this time.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites, especially on the Island of Sao Tiago. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET- or 20% picaridin-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet at night.

Poliomyelitis (Polio): An outbreak of poliomyelitis was reported from Cape Verde in 2000. This disease has remained active in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. All travelers to Cape Verde should be fully immunized. A one-time dose of IPV (Inactivated Polio Vaccine) is recommended for any traveler >age 18 who completed the primary childhood series but never received an additional dose of polio vaccine as an adult.

Travelers' Diarrhea: High risk. All water sources should be considered potentially contaminated. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you boil, filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%. 
• A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, 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.

Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is a significant health problem in this country. TB is transmitted by inhaling infectious respiratory droplets. Most travelers are at low risk. Travelers at higher risk include those who are visiting friends and relatives (particularly young children), long-term travelers, and those who have close contact with an infected individual. There is no prophylactic drug prevent TB. Travelers with significant exposure should have PPD skin testing done to evaluate their risk of infection.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to hotels or resorts and cruise ship passenger) traveling to or working in West Africa, 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.

Yellow Fever: There is no risk of YF in Cape Verde. A yellow fever vaccination certificate, however, is required for travelers >1 year of age coming from infected countries. Vaccination is not required or recommended otherwise.