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Oman



Capital: Muscat

Time Zone: +4 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 968
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 240/50 (volts/hz). United Kingdom Sytle Adaptor Plug and European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug C.


Travel Advisory - Oman

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 Oman


Resource Links

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

Embassies


• U.S. Embassy
Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street
Diplomatic Section - Shatti al Qurum
Muscat
Consular Section E-mail
ConsularMuscat@state.gov
Fax: [968] 2464-3535
Tel: [968] 2464-3400 between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and follow the prompts.
For emergencies involving American citizens after work hours:
Tel: [968] 2464-3400
Website: http://oman.usembassy.gov/index.html

The Canadian Embassy in Saudi Arabia is responsible for representing Canadian interests in Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman.
• Canadian Embassy
Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tel: [966] (1) 488 2288
Fax: [966] (1) 488 1997
Email: ryadh@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
Website: www.saudiarabia.gc.ca

• British Embassy
Mina Al Fahal
Sultanate of Oman
Tel: [968] (24) 609000 Main
Tel: [968] (24) 609001 Consular
Fax: [968] (24) 609011 Consular
Website: http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/oman

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Those newly-employed by private sector companies and upon renewal of work permit. U.S. test not accepted.

Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever and cholera vaccination certificate is required from all travelers older than 1 year arriving from infected areas.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: The Sultanate of Oman, a land of great natural beauty on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula, has a long and proud heritage. With a population of 2.6 million, Oman has seen rapid economic and social development in the past three decades. A monarchy governed by Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the country does not have political parties or a legislature, although a bicameral representative body (the lower house of which is directly elected) provides the government with advice and reviews draft legislation. While Oman is traditionally Islamic and Islam is the state religion, Omanis have for centuries lived with people of other faiths. Non-Muslims are free to worship at churches and temples built on land donated by the Sultan. The economy is largely dependent on the production and export of oil and natural gas, but is becoming increasingly more diversified. Excellent tourist facilities are available in the major cities of Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, and Nizwa and can increasingly be found elsewhere in the country. Travelers may wish to visit the Sultanate’s tourism web site at http://www.omantourism.gov.om/ for more information. 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and visa are required for entry into Oman. Omani embassies and consulates issue multiple-entry tourist and/or business visas valid for up to two years. Omani immigration officials at the port of entry determine the length of stay in Oman, which varies according to the purpose of travel. Alternatively, U.S. citizens may obtain a 30-day visa by presenting their U.S. passports on arrival at all Oman land, sea, and air entry points. Note: The validity period of the applicant's passport should not be less than six months. Adequate funds and proof of an onward/return ticket, though not required, are strongly recommended. The fee is Rials Omani 6.00 (approximately USD 16.00). This visa can only be extended for an extra 30 days; a completed extension application form and the fee of Rials Omani 6.00 (USD 16.00) should be submitted to the Directorate General of Passports and Residence or to its branches at regional Royal Omani Police offices. Other categories of short-term visit/business/work contract visas are available, but these must be arranged in advance through an Omani sponsor. To obtain a visa or for details on entry and travel requirements, please contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, 2535 Belmont Road NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 387-1980/2. Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required if the traveler enters from an infected area. Visit the Embassy of Oman web site at www.omani.info for the most current visa information.

 

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.

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.
• 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 hotels or resorts.

Yellow Fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from any infected area in the yellow fever endemic zone country in Africa or the Americas.

Hospitals / Doctors

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, or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. Serious illness or injury may require medical evacuation to Western Europe.

There are a number of modern medical facilities in Oman. Local medical treatment varies from quite good to inadequate, depending in large part on location.

• Muscat Private Hospital
Bausher Street
Al - Khuwair
Tel: [968] 245 83600
Emergency Services (ER): [968] 245 83790-92
E-mail: info@muscatprivatehospital.com
Website: http://www.muscatprivatehospital.com/
Private 72-bed hospital, opened in 2000; most specialties; 24-hour emergency services.

• The Royal Hospital
Ministry of Health
Muscat
Tel: [968] 245 99 000
Website: http://www.royalhospital.med.om/
The Royal Hospital is a large, tertiary acute care facility providing a full range of specialty treatments and the latest technology.

• Gulf Medical Centre
Behind Sabco Centre
Mina Al Fahal
Tel: [968] 564 639

• Al Bashayer Specialised Medical Center
Mina Al Fahal
Tel: [968] 699 905

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: The prevalence of HIV in the adult population is estimated to be very low, at <0.1%, but reliable statistics are not available. The notion that this region has sidestepped the global epidemic - perhaps due to strict rules governing sexual behavior - is difficult to evaluate. In neighboring Saudi Arabia, about 20% of people living with HIV/AIDS are indigenous nationals, the remainder primarily foreigner workers.
• 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.

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.

Animal Hazards: Centipedes, scorpions, black widow spiders inhabit the dry interior regions of Oman.

Dengue Fever: Endemic at a low level, but outbreaks may be underdiagnosed and underreported. Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness occurring in throughout much of Asia. 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 may be endemic but levels are unclear. Sporadic cases may be underdiagnosed and 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 moderately endemic. 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 with a prevalence of 0.9% 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.

Insect-Borne Diseases: Malaria is generally considered to be under control in Oman. However, the risk remains due to environmental conditions such as high temperature and high humidity that allow mosquitoes to breed. Other insect-borne infections, including dengue fever and leishmaniasis also occur in Oman. Travelers should be particularly attentive to the risk of mosquito bites on the Musandam Peninsula.

Leishmaniasis: Presumably widespread and focally distributed countrywide. Transmission presumably occurs during April through October, peaking during July through September. Both cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis may be present in endemic areas. Visceral leishmaniasis is known to occur in focal rural foothill and mountainous areas in Sharqiyah and Dhahirah Regions.
• 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: The risk of malaria is low and is confined to very remote areas of Musandam Province. The capital area around Muscat and the southern Dhofar region are risk-free. Countrywide, P. falciparum causes approximately 96% of cases of malaria, P. vivax the remainder. Chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria may be present.
• Malaria chemoprophylaxis is currently not recommended by the CDC for travel to this country. Health authorities in the U.K. recommend prophylaxis with chloroquine and proguanil.

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 Oman 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.

Marine Hazards: Sea urchins and marine rays inhabit the coastal waters of Oman and could pose a hazard to swimmers.

Other Diseases/Hazards: Mediterranean spotted fever, brucellosis (usually transmitted by raw goat/sheep milk, especially in the southern Dhofar region), echinococcosis (carried by stray dogs; reported sporadically, especially in northern areas), filariasis (cases of Bancroftian filariasis are reported annually), leptospirosis, myiasis (due to larvae of the sheep nasal botfly; a case of ophthalmic myiasis has been reported, with fly maggots infecting the periocular tissue), Q fever (prevalent in the human population in Oman; infection is widespread in goat, and probably sheep and other livestock populations, throughout the country: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12860629), rabies (foxes are the main reservoir, with spillover into the dog population), relapsing fever (tick-borne), sandfly fever (viral; mosquito-borne), typhus (flea-borne and louse-borne), and helminthic infections (roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infections are common in rural areas; incidence is estimated at 5%).

Rabies: Rabies occurs sporadically in stray dogs and is rarely reported in humans. 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 areas for intestinal schistosomiasis occur in southern coastal areas of the Dhofar (Zufar) Governate (near Arazat, Mirbat, Taqah, and Salalah). “Swimmer’s itch” (cercarial dermatitis), due to noninvasive animal schistosomes, is reported after exposure in freshwater pools in Wadi Darbat.
• Schistosomiasis is a parasitic flatworm infection of the intestinal or urinary system caused by one of several species of Schistosoma. 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: First-class hotels and restaurants in Muscat generally serve reliable food and potable water. Travelers are advised, however, to drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water and consume only well-cooked food. A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of acute diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, or amebiasis.

Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is highly endemic in Oman 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.

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) 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, 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.