Time Zone: +2 hours. GMT +1 hour daylight savings time.
Tel. Country Code: 961
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 and 110/50 (volts/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug and European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug D.
Travel Advisory - Lebanon
There is a low risk of malaria in North Africa and the Middle East, but other insect-transmitted diseases, such as leishmaniasis and viral infections, are potential threats. Safe water precautions, safe needle, and insect-bite prevention measures are important.
Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Lebanon
• U.S. Embassy
Tel: (4) 542-600, 543-600, 544-310, 544-130, 544-140
• Canadian Embassy
Jal El Dib Highway (sea side)
1st Floor, Coolrite Building
Jal El Dib, Beirut
Tel: (4) 713-900
Fax: (4) 710-595
• British Embassy
Embassies Complex Army Street
Tel:  (1) 990400 (24 hours)
HIV Test: Required for those seeking residence permits; U.S. test is accepted.
Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from infected areas.
Passport/Visa: The Republic of Lebanon is a parliamentary republic. Political power is concentrated in the office of the President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament, each representing one of Lebanon's three largest religious sects (Maronite Christians, Sunni and Shi'a Muslims). Since 1973, Lebanon has been in a state of war with Israel. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Lebanon for additional information.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required. American citizens coming to Lebanon for tourism can purchase a short-term visa at the border. Travelers holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be refused entry into Lebanon. Travelers whose passports contain Israeli stamps or visas and who also hold an "Arab nationality" may be subject to arrest and imprisonment. Travelers who have overstayed their entry visa validity in Lebanon have to adjust their status with the Central Department of Surete General (Department of Passport and Immigration) prior to their departure.
Further information on entry/exit requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Lebanon, 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 939-6300. Travelers may also contact one of the following Lebanese Consulates General:
1959 E. Jefferson, Suite 4A
Detroit, MI 48207
2400 Augusta, Suite 308
Houston, TX 77057
7060 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90028
6600 S.W. 57th Avenue, Suite 200
Miami, FL 33143
(Honorary Consul, for Florida residents only)
9 E. 76th Street
New York, NY 10021
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 travelers who might be exposed to blood or bodily fluids from unprotected sex with a high-risk partner; from injecting drug use with shared/re-used needles and syringes; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes; from contact with open skin sores. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B virus.
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.
• 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.
Hospitals / Doctors
Lebanese hospitals are modern and well equipped and many doctors are highly qualified. Medical treatment can be expensive. Doctors are generally well qualified though nursing standards vary. The majority of medical staff speak French and English.
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. 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—the equivalent drugs may not be available; may be of dubious origin; may be counterfeit, or of unreliable quality.
• 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.
The two best hospitals in the country are the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) and the Hôtel Dieu in Achrafieh, Beirut.
• American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC)
Tel:  (1) 374374 or  (1) 350000
Emergency ext: 6615
Trauma center; all specialties; 24-hour emergency. AUBMC is the private, not-for-profit teaching center of the Faculty of Medicine. It consists of a 420-bed medical center and provides all medical, surgical, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecological and psychiatric services. The Medical Center offers comprehensive healthcare services, extensive tertiary resources, medical, nursing and paramedical training.
Preferred hospital for travelers and expatriates.
• Hotel Dieu de France
Rue Hotel Dieu
Tel:  (1) 615300/400
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: Low incidence. HIV in Lebanon is primarily transmitted through heterosexual activity. Sexual transmission accounts for about 70% of cases, with drug use and men having sex with men the rest. Blood products in Lebanon are screened for HIV and hepatitis B and C.
• 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.
• 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.
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.
Cholera: This disease is reported active in this country (sporadic cases only), but the threat to tourists 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:http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/354/23/2452)
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. 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.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 2%-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 but levels are unlear. 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 6 months.
Leishmaniasis: Cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, transmitted by sandflies, occur in the north of the country. Travelers should take precautions to prevent insect (sandfly) bites. The parasites that cause leishmaniasis are transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sand fly. Sandflies bite in the evening and at night. Contrary to what their name suggests, sand flies are not found on beaches. They are usually found in forests, the cracks of stone or mud walls, or animal burrows.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent sandfly bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, permethrin (spray or solution) to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet.
Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in Lebanon.
Mediterranean Spotted (Boutonneuse) Fever: Low risk; may occur, based on serological studies. The tick-borne disease is widely distributed in the Middle East, especially near the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas. The disease has been extensively studied in Israel, where there are several hyperendemic areas, including the western coast, and the southern Negev desert.
Other Diseases/Hazards: Brucellosis (from consumption of unpasteurized dairy products), echinococcosis (usually transmitted by contaminated fresh vegetables), rabies (no recent cases), tuberculosis, and sand fly fever (endemic at low levels) are reported. Parasitic infections include giardiasis, amebiasisis, and roundworm and tapeworm infections.
Poliomyelitis: In Lebanon, the last confirmed indigenous polio cases were reported in 1994. An imported virus was reported in 2003. Polio booster not recommended for travel to this country.
Rabies: No recent cases of rabies have been reported. Although rabies vaccine is not recommended at this time, all animal bites or scratches while in this country should be taken seriously and medically evaluated for possible post-exposure rabies prophylaxis.
Schistosomiasis: Schistosomiasis is reported in this country but travelers are at very low risk.
• Schistosomiasis is transmitted through exposure to contaminated water while wading, swimming, and bathing. Schistosoma larvae, released from infected freshwater snails, penetrate intact skin to establish infection. All travelers should avoid swimming, wading, or bathing in freshwater lakes, ponds, or streams. There is no risk in chlorinated swimming pools or in seawater.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Moderate risk outside of first-class hotels. Drinking water outside main towns and cities is likely to be contaminated and sterilisation is considered essential. Shigella and salmonella are leading causes of infectious diarrhea in Lebanon. 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 endemic, with most cases in Beirut and northern Lebanon. 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 endemic. An outbreak of typhoid fever was reported in November 2006 from south Lebanon, the southern suburbs of Beirut and the eastern Beqaa region. Typhoid is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in the Middle East, 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. Travelers should practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions even if vaccinated.