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Mauritania



Capital: Nouakchott

Time Zone: 0 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 222
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug D.

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

Embassies

• U.S. Embassy
Rue Abdallaye
Nouakchott
Tel: [222] 525-2660/2663 or 525-3038 (ext. 5441)
Fax: (222) 525-1592
E-mail: ConsularNKC@state.gov
Website: http://mauritania.usembassy.gov/

• The Canadian Embassy in Morocco represents Canadian interests in Mauritania, except for visa services which are the responsibility of the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

• There is no British Embassy in Mauritania. The British Ambassador in Rabat, Morocco is accredited to Mauritania. There is a British Honorary Consul in Nouakchott, Mr Sid'Ahmed Ould Abeidna. If you decide to travel to Mauritania, you should endeavour to register with the Honorary Consul.
Contact details of the British Honorary Consulate are as follows:

Mr Sid' Ahmed Ould Abeidna:
Tel: [222] 525 8331
Mob: [222] 630 1217/+33 6800 19567
Fax: [222] 525 3903

Since the start of 2006, the Honorary Consul has been authorized to issue emergency passports in Mauritania.

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Not required.

Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travelers older than 1 year arriving from ALL COUNTRIES.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: Mauritania is a developing country in northwestern Africa. Arabic is the official language, but French is widely used and several local languages are also spoken. Tourist facilities in the capital, Nouakchott, are adequate, but limited or non-existent elsewhere. 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and a visa are required, as is evidence of a yellow fever vaccination. For the most current visa information, contact the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 232-5700, or the Mauritanian Permanent Mission to the UN, 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 986-7963 or 8189, or e-mail Mauritania@un.int
Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Mauritanian embassy or consulate. 

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.

Meningococcal (Meningitis): Quadrivalent conjugate meningitis vaccine is recommended for those travelers anticipating living or working closely with local people. The risk is greatest in the dry season, from November to May/June. Vaccination should be considered for all travelers venturing into epidemic regions at any time of year.

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: Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection.

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 and Boostrix are new tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccines that not only boost immunity against diphtheria and tetanus, but have the advantage of also protecting against pertussis (whooping cough), a serious disease in adults as well as children. The Tdap vaccines 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

Yellow Fever: Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from any infected country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise.

Hospitals / Doctors

Medical facilities are extremely limited, particularly outside Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, where lack of communications makes dealing with an emergency very difficult.
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 - the equivalent drugs may not be available; may be counterfeit; or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage, including air ambulance transport. In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated locally, every effort should be made to be evacuated to Europe.

Hospital facilities are not suitable for inpatient care but can provide emergency services. Dental care is available in Nouakchott but is limited. Sterility of needles and syringes cannot be guaranteed.

Nouakchott
• Centre Hospitalier National
Tel: [222] 525 21 35 or 525 75 16
General medical/surgical facility; limited specialties.

• Military Hospital
Tel: [222] 525 70 15

Nouadhibou
• Centro Asistencial del Instituto Social de la Marina
Tel: [222] 524 51 83

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: HIV prevalence appears to be relatively low, even in the high-risk urban population. HIV prevalence in the 15-49 age group in Mauritania is estimated at 0.7%.
• 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 the body fluids of another person or their 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.

Animal/Marine Hazards: Animal hazards include snakes (vipers, cobras, adders), centipedes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. Marine hazards include poisonous fishes (weever, scorpion, and toad fishes) and venomous marine invertebrates such as the Portuguese man-of-war, stinging corals, feather hydroids, and sea nettles, anemones, urchins, and sea cucumbers.

Cholera: This disease is reported active in this country, with some recent outbreaks reported, but the threat to tourists is low. Cholera is an extremely rare disease in travelers from developed countries. Cholera vaccine is usually recommended only for people, such as 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 don•t 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.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF): An outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever was reported in 2003, with over 30 cases in Nouakchott. Most were related to direct contact with blood of infected animals.
• CCHF is caused by a virus and is transmitted by tick bite or by exposure to blood or secretions from infected animals or humans. Anyone who has visited this country and is suffering from a fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, red rash (which does not fade when pressed under glass), bleeding on the roof of the mouth, or any other unexplained symptoms should seek medical advice immediately.

Dengue Fever: The incidence of dengue fever is unclear, but probably low. Dengue virus is present in neighboring Senegal. Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness occurring in many parts of Africa. 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. 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 prevalence is unclear. Sporadic cases and outbreaks occur. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. 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 >10% and may be as high as 22%. 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 1.1% 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.

Leishmaniasis: Sporadic cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis have been reported along the border with Senegal and near the southern border with Mali. The parasites that cause leishmaniasis are transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sandfly. Sandflies bite in the evening and at night and 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: Risk is present year-round, including urban areas, particularly along the Senegal River Basin where the risk is elevated during and immediately after the rainy season (July–September). Limited risk occurs in the northern semi-desert and desert areas. There is no apparent risk in the desert areas of north of Fderik. Chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria was reported for the first time in 1994.
• Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone), mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline or primaquine (G6PD test required) prophylaxis is recommended when traveling to malarious areas of Mauritania.

A malaria map is located on the Fit for Travel website, which is compiled and maintained by experts from the Travel Health division at Health Protection Scotland (HPS). Go to www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and select Malaria Map from the Mauritania page on the Destinations menu or A-Z Index.

• Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet. DEET-based repellents remain the gold standard of protection under circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against mosquito bites that may transmit disease. Nearly 100% protection can be achieved when DEET repellents are used in combination with permethrin-treated clothing.
• You should consider the diagnosis of malaria if you develop an unexplained fever during or after being in this country.

Meningitis (Meningococcal): Quadrivalent conjugate meningitis vaccine is recommended for those travelers anticipating living or working closely with local people. The risk is greatest in the dry season, from November to May/June. Vaccination should be considered for all travelers venturing into epidemic regions at any time of year.
• Areas in sub-Saharan Africa with frequent epidemics of meningococcal meningitis are found at: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/yellowBookCh4-Menin.aspx#651

Other Diseases/Hazards: African tick typhus, African tick-bite fever, brucellosis (from consumption of raw dairy products and infected meat), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dracunculiasis, meningococcal meningitis (southern Mauritania borders the sub-Saharan meningitis belt), plague (human incidence data lacking), relapsing fever (tick-borne, louse-borne; may occur), Rift Valley fever, tuberculosis (a major health problem), typhoid fever, and intestinal worms (very common).

Poliomyelitis (Polio): Polio remains persistent in sub-Saharan Africa. Five cases of polio has been reported in 2009, the first cases in Mauritania since 2001. All travelers 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.

Rabies: Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection. 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, but does not eliminate the need for two additional booster doses of vaccine. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment of any animal bite is essential, regardless of vaccination status. Note: If adequate rabies treatment is not available locally, medical evacuation is advised to a facility that can provide treatment.

Schistosomiasis: Risk is greatest in the south along the Senegal River and extending into the southeast, and a smaller area farther north, around the Adrar mountain range in the vicinity of Atar, in central western Mauritania. Infection rates of urinary schistosomiasis are highest in the south central border regions of Gorgol, Guidimaka, and Hodh el Gharbi.
• 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, streams, cisterns, aqueducts, or irrigated areas. There is no risk in chlorinated swimming pools or in seawater.

Travelers' Diarrhea: High risk. All water sources should be considered potentially contaminated. Travelers should observe food and drink safety precautions. A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, is recommended for the treatment of acute diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to treatment with an antibiotic, or chronic diarrhea, may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis,
amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.

Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis is highly endemic in Mauritania with an annual occurrence was greater than or equal to 40 cases per 100,000 population. 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, prolonged contact with the local population. There is no prophylactic drug to prevent TB. Travelers with significant exposure should have PPD skin testing done to evaluate their risk of infection.

Yellow Fever: Required upon arrival from all countries if traveler is >1 year of age. Exception: Not required for travelers from a non-endemic zone who stay <2 weeks. CDC recommendation: For all travelers >9 months of age. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel.