Time Zone: +3 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 965
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 240/50 (volts/hz). United Kingdom Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug C, D, F.
Travel Health Services
Foreign Commonweatlh Office
U.S. Embassy: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, Plot 14, Block 14, Bayan, Safat; Tel: 965-539-5307 or 539-5308; Web: www.usembassy.gov.kw.
• Canadian Embassy: 24, Al-Mutawakel Street, Block 4, Da'aiyah, Safat, Kuwait City; Tel: 965-56-3025; Fax: 965-256-0173; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/kuwait.
• HIV Test: Test required for residency and work permits; U.S. test accepted. • A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from infected areas.
Hospitals / Doctors
• Medical insurance is essential. Both private and government health services are available.
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.
• 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.
Avian Influenza A (Bird Flu): Outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza were reported from poultry farms in 2005. New outbreaks were reported in 2007 in the southern region of Wafra. No human cases have been reported to date.
Cholera: This disease is reported active in this country (sporadic cases only), but the threat to tourists is very low. Cholera vaccine is recommended primarily for people at high risk (e.g., relief workers) who work and live in highly endemic areas under less than adequate sanitary conditions.
• The manufacture and availability of the injectable cholera vaccine in the United States ceased in June 2000.
• Many countries, including Canada, license an oral cholera vaccine. The oral vaccine is not available in the United States.
• Cholera vaccine is not "officially" required for entry into, or exit from, any country. Despite this, some countries, on occasion, require proof of cholera vaccination from travelers coming from cholera-infected countries. Anticipating such a situation, certain travelers may wish to carry a medical exemption letter from their health-care provider. Travel Medicine, Inc., recommends that travelers use the International Certificate of Vaccination (Yellow Card) for this purpose, having their health-care provider state "exempt from cholera vaccine" and validate the exemption with both their signature and their official stamp (the "Uniform Stamp" in the United States).
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 is endemic but the levels are unclear. Sporadic cases may occur but go underdiagnosed or underreported. Some data suggests that acute hepatitis E is common among foreign workers in Kuwait but that little HEV transmission is occurring directly. 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 endemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at >4%. 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 moderately high level, with a prevalence of 3.3% 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 from November through March. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 50; all travelers with chronic disease or a weakened immune system; travelers of any age wishing to decrease the risk of this illness; pregnant women after the first trimester.
Insects: All travelers should take measures to prevent both daytime and nighttime insect bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include a DEET-containing repellent applied to exposed skin, insecticide (permethrin) spray applied to clothing and gear, and use of a permthrin-treated bednet at night while sleeping.
Leishmaniasis: Cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, transmitted by sand flies, occurs, but levels are unclear. Cutaneous leishmaniasis has been reported among U.S. military personnel serving in Kuwait. Travelers should take precautions to prevent insect (sandfly) bites.
Other Diseases/Outbreaks: Brucellosis (acquired by ingestion of unpasteurized dairy products or, less commonly, ingestion of poorly cooked meat from infected animals)
• Tick-borne relapsing fever
Rabies: Sporadic cases of human rabies are reported countrywide. Pre-exposure rabies vaccine is recommended for travel longer than 3 months, for shorter stays in rural when travelers plan to venture off the usual tourist routes and where they may be more exposed to the stray dog population; when travelers desire extra protection; or when they will not be able to get immediate medical care.
• All animal bite wounds, especially from a dog, should be thoroughly cleansed with soap and water and then medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment, regardless of your vaccination status. Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin, but does not eliminate the need for two additional booster doses of vaccine. Even if rabies vaccine was administered before travel, you will need a 2-dose booster series of vaccine after the bite of a rabid animal.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Moderate risk outside of first-class hotels. Drinking water outside main towns and cities is likely to be 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 health problem in this country. Tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted following inhalation of 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 to 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) traveling to or working in Phillipines, 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.