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Samoa (Western)



Capital: Apia

Time Zone: -11 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 685
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). South Pacific Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug E.

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Resource Links

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

Embassies

• American Consulate
5th Floor
Accident Corporation Building
Matafele
Apia
Samoa
Tel: [685] 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696
Fax: [685] 22030
Email: AmEmbApia@state.gov
Website: http://samoa.usembassy.gov/

There is no resident Canadian diplomatic mission in Samoa. In the case of emergency you should contact the Australian High Commission.

• Australian High Commission
Beach Road, Apia
Tel: [685] 234-11, 236-13, 252-32
Fax: [685] 231-59
Website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Samoa

There is no resident British diplomatic mission in Samoa. In the case of emergency you should contact the British High Commission in New Zealand.

• British High Commission
44 Hill Street
Wellington
New Zealand
Tel: [64] (4) 924 2888
Email: consularmail.wellington@fco.gov.uk
Website: www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/newzealand

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Not required.

Required Vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 6 months of age coming from infected or endemic areas.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: Samoa consists of the two large islands of Upolu and Savaii and seven small islets. The country has a stable parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. Tourist facilities are accessible by bus, taxi and car and are within walking distance of access roads. Infrastructure is adequate in Apia, the capital, but it is limited in other areas. Nearly all Internet connections use a relatively slow dial-up method. Samoa has two digital telephone service providers, and visitors can easily purchase prepaid phones that cover virtually the entire country. The Samoa Tourism Authority, at http://www.visitsamoa.ws/, provides a wide range of information of interest to travelers. 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. nationals who are not U.S. citizens, and who are resident in American Samoa, must obtain a visitor permit prior to all travel to Samoa. U.S. nationals have not been permitted to travel to Samoa on certificates of identity since May 2005 except on a case-by-case basis. (U.S. law distinguishes between individuals who are citizens and those who are nationals. The U.S. passport bio-page shows your status as either a citizen or a non-citizen national.) As of March 22, 2006, visitor permits to travel to Samoa can be applied for at the new Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A valid passport and an onward/return ticket are required for all Americans (both citizens and nationals) to travel to Samoa. Visitor permits are not required for U.S. citizens (only for U.S. nationals) seeking to stay in Samoa for up to 60 days. Further information about entry requirements and the departure tax may be obtained from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 599-6196, fax (212) 599-0797. Visit the Embassy of Samoa website at http://www2.un.int/public/Samoa/ 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; 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.

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.

Yellow Fever: Travelers >1 year of age entering the country from an endemic area are required to present a certificate of immunization against yellow fever.

Hospitals / Doctors

Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range and availability; complex illnesses and life-threatening emergencies generally need to be treated elsewhere. The national hospital and a small private hospital are located in Apia, and there are several small district hospitals on Savaii and in outlying areas of Upolu. There are no hyperbaric chambers on any of the islands for the treatment of scuba diving related injuries.
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 or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage, including air ambulance medevac. In the event of a serious illness or injury every effort should be made to arrange aeromedical evacuation to a more advanced medical facility in New Zealand, Australia, or Hawaii.

• National Hospital
Tel: [685] 21-212
Website: http://www.health.gov.ws/
The National Hospital, Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM), located in the capital, is the sole teaching hospital and provides primary, secondary and limited tertiary care. It is the regional referral hospital for rural Upolu and as the national referral hospital also provides specialist medical services, outpatient clinics, surgery and inpatient care for people from Savaii. (Go to Services on the Ministry of Health website http://www.health.gov.ws/ to find individual hospital web pages.)

• MedCen Private Hospital
Cross Island Road
Apia
Tel: [685] 26-519
Website: http://www.eventpolynesia.com/directory/samoa/medcen.htm
MedCen Hospital is a private health-care, 21 bed facility
providing medical, surgical, ob/gyn, pediatric, ENT, eye, dental, and 24-hour emergency services.

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: It is estimated that 0.4% of the adult population of Oceania is living with HIV/AIDS, but no statistics are currently available for Samoa.
• 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 fluid 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.
• 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.

Dengue Fever: Epidemics have been reported since 2001. Most risk of dengue occurs during rainy season months country-wide. Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in Oceania. 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

Filariasis: Malayan filariasis occurs in this country. Travelers should take protective measures
against mosquito bites.

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Hepatitis A is transmitted through 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. Transmission of HEV occurs primarily through contaminated drinking water. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 10%. 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 0.2% 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 worlds population. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Influenza: Influenza is transmitted year-round in the tropics. The flu vaccine is recommended for all travelers over age 6 months.

Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in Samoa.

Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, and coral.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating coral reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.

Rabies: Samoa is currently presumed to be rabies-free. All animal bites, especially from a dog, must be medically evaluated.
• 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.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Moderate risk. 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 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: Outbreaks of typhoid fever are being reported. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in the Oceania, 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.