Time Zone: +1 hour. GMT +2 hour daylight savings time.
Tel. Country Code: 48
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 230/50 (volts/hz). European Style Adatpor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug D.
Travel Advisory - Poland
Europe, Russia and former the Soviet Union countries vary widely in travel risks and adequacy of health care delivery. Water- and food-borne illnesses such as travelers' diarrhea, typhoid and Giardia are threats outside of Western Europe. Insect-transmitted diseases, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis are common in wooded, rural areas in most countries, including Western Europe.
Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Poland
• U.S. Embassy
Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31
Tel:  (22) 628-3041, 625-0055
Fax:  (22) 625-0289
• Embassy of Canada
ul. Jana Matejki 1/5
Tel:  (22) 584-3343
Emergency toll-free to Ottawa: 00-800-111-4319
Fax: (22) 584-3101
• British Embassy
Warsaw Corporate Centre
Emilii Plater 28
Tel:  (22) 311 00 00
HIV Test: Testing required for foreign students intending to remain in Poland more than a few weeks; U.S. test results not accepted.
Required Vaccinations: None required.
Passport/Visa: Poland is a stable, free-market democracy. Tourist facilities are not highly developed in all areas, and some services taken for granted in other European countries may not be available in some parts of Poland, especially in rural areas. On May 1, 2004, Poland became a member of the European Union (EU).
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required. Be sure to check your passport's validity -- Poland will not admit you if your passport is expired. (Remember that U.S. passports for persons under 16 are valid for five, not ten, years). U.S. citizens do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days for tourist, business, or transit purposes. Americans should ensure that their passports are date-stamped upon entry.
Polish immigration officials may ask travelers for proof of sufficient financial resources to cover their proposed stay in Poland. The general rule-of-thumb is 100 zlotys per day. Additionally, citizens of non-EU countries, including the United States, should carry proof of adequate medical insurance in case of an accident or hospitalization while in Poland. Polish immigration officials may ask for documentation of such insurance or proof of sufficient financial resources (at least 400 zlotys per day) to cover such costs. Those who lack insurance or access to adequate financial resources may be denied admission to Poland. Medicare does not cover health costs incurred while abroad.
Poland requires Polish citizens (including American citizens who are or can be claimed as Polish citizens) to enter and depart Poland using a Polish passport. Americans who are also Polish citizens or who are unsure if they hold Polish citizenship should contact the nearest Polish consular office for further information.
For further information on entry requirements, please contact the consular section of Embassy of the Republic of Poland at 2224 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 234-3800, or the Polish consulates in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York.
Visit the Embassy of Poland website at http://www.polandembassy.org for the most current visa information.
Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not immunized or immune 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; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B.
Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
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.
Hospitals / Doctors
Medical care is adequate for most routine problems, but is not up to the standard of care found in Western Europe or the United States.
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.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation/repatriation to your home country; payment of doctor and hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance.
In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated locally, every effort should be made to arrange medical evacuation to Western Europe.
A directory of medical providers in Poland, maintained by the Canadian Embassy, is found at:
Many travelers in Poland choose one of the following facilities:
• Lux Med Ltd.
24-hour emergency assistance.
Clinics in Warsaw, Lodz, Gdansk, Katowice, Cracow, Poznan, and Wroclaw. (Go to the Lux Med Ltd. website for contact information)
• LIM Medical Centre
24-hour emergency assistance.
Clinics in Warsaw, Cracow, Poznan, Wroclaw. (Go to the LIM Medical Centre website for contact information)
• Damian Medical Centre
46 Walbrzyska Str.
Tel: (22) 847 33 13, 853 16 44, 566-22-22
(Go to the Damian Medical Centre website for contact information.)
24-hour emergency Tel: 96 77
Clinics in Warsaw, Cracow, Poznan, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Katowice, Gdynia, Lodz, and Szczecin. (Go to the Medicover website for contact information.)
Clinics in Warsaw, Gdansk, Katowice, Cracow, Poznan, Lodz, and Szczecin. (Go to the Falck website for contact information.)
INSTITUTE OF CARDIOLOGY-HOSPITAL
ul. ALPEJSKA 42
(This facility provides care for only cardiac problems)
ICCU (22) 343-4314, -4300 or -4477
ICCU Manager Assoc. Prof. Janina Stepinska
(22) 343-4600 or 815-3011
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: Poland is fortunate with regards to HIV/AIDS as the epidemic has remained relatively low so far, compared to Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Baltic States. The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the adult population is estimated at 0.3%. Fifty to 60% of the HIV epidemic in Poland is related to drug users sharing needles. (Source: www.Avert.org)
• 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 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.
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.
Air Pollution: Travelers with respiratory diseases should be aware that there is severe air pollution in most of the industrial areas of Poland.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): Outbreaks in 2007 in turkeys, hens, and storks reported from several farms in the Mazowieckie region and a wild bird shelter. No human infections or deaths have been reported.
• H5N1 avian influenza is predominantly a disease of birds. The virus does not pass easily from birds to people and does not to pass from person to person (except in very rare cases of close contact with an infected blood relative).
• The risk to humans from avian influenza is believed to be very low and no travel restrictions are advised, except travelers should avoid visiting animal markets, poultry farms and other places where they may come into close contact with live or dead poultry, or domestic, caged or wild birds and their excretions. In addition, travelers are advised to:
1. Cook poultry and egg dishes thoroughly. (Well-cooked poultry is safe to eat.)
2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water if around poultry.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend travel restrictions to countries experiencing outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in birds, including those countries which have reported associated cases of human infection.
The usual vaccines against influenza are not protective against “bird flu.”
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is somewhat effective in the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza. It seems to be effective in some cases, but may fail in others. Recently, resistant strains have been reported. In addition, the dosage and duration of treatment appear to be different in severe H5N1 cases.
Hepatitis: There is a medium to high risk of hepatitis A in Poland. 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 occur. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals (swine) may be a source of a hepatitis E virus. 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 0.2% to 1.25% but is as high as 10 to 12% in injecting drug users. 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 1.4% 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 6 months.
Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is reported sporadically. Risk is elevated in the Warmia and the Mazury Lake Region, Western Pomerania, the Bialowieza National Forest, and the Carpathian Mountain Forest. Katowice province has the highest percentage of infected ticks.
All travelers who engage in hiking, camping, or similar outdoor activities in rural wooded regions of endemic areas should take measures to prevent tick bites. Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• A single 200-mg dose of doxycycline is effective in preventing Lyme disease if taken within 72 hours of being bitten by an infected tick. (Reference: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/345/2/79).
Other Diseases/Hazards: Brucellosis (low incidence; acquired by ingestion of unpasteurized dairy products or, less commonly, ingestion of poorly cooked meat from infected animals, by direct or indirect exposure to the organism through mucous membranes or broken skin, or by inhalation of infectious material)
• Cysticercosis (regionally enzootic; no human cases reported since 1998)
• Diphtheria (all travelers should be fully immunized)
• Echinococcosis (regionally enzootic; human cases occasionally reported)
• Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
• Leptospirosis (5 cases reported in 2006)
• Rabies (enzootic in red foxes and other wild and domestic animals; rare in humans)
• Trichinosis (also called trichinellosis; from under-cooked or raw sausage meat; elevated risk in West Pomerania, where cases were reported in 2007)
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.
Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE): Although the tick vector of tick-borne encephalitis is distributed widely in brushy, wooded areas throughout most of Poland, the chance of contracting TBE is very low for the average traveler. Visitors working or camping in forested areas are those most at risk. There is increased transmission of TBE in the northern forested areas around Gdansk south and eastward to the Russian border, including the areas around Bialystock, the forested lands around Warsaw, Lodz, and Lukow, and along the border with Czechoslovakia south of Wroclaw.
The TBE vaccine (FSME-IMMUN-Baxter) is available in health clinics in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland, as well as Canada. Administration of vaccine is generally impractical for the average traveler. Tick-bite protection is therefore essential. (The vaccine is recommended only for travelers with on-going, heavy exposure; forest workers are at risk.)
• Travelers, especially those engaging in outdoor activities in rural areas, are advised to take measures to prevent tick bites during the peak transmission season, March to November. Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• A map showing the distribution of TBE is here: http://www.nathnac.org/includes/contents/documents/TBEmap.gif
More information on TBE at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/spb/mnpages/dispages/TBE.htm
Travelers' Diarrhea: Surface water in Poland is often polluted with organic, industrial, and agricultural waste/runoff. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that all drinking water should preferably be bottled or from a reliable source. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat and fish. 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.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid is the most serious of the Salmonella infections, but is rare in tourists to Poland. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all people traveling to or working in Eastern Europe, 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.