TURKS AND CAICOS
Capital: British Overseas Territory
Time Zone: -5 hours. GMT +1 hours daylight savings time.
Tel. Country Code: 809
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 120/60 (voltz/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug A.
TRAVEL ADVISORY - TURKS AND CAICOS
Travelers to Central and South America and the Caribbean need to protect themselves against mosquito-transmitted viruses, such as dengue and Zika, as well as nighttime biting mosquitoes in countries where there is the threat of malaria. I recommend all travelers use a combination of DEET or Picaridin repellent on their skin and Permethrin fabric insecticide on their clothing for greater than 99% protection against mosquito and tick bites.
There is no U.S. embassy, consulate or consular agency in the Turks and Caicos. U.S. citizens living in or visiting Turks and Caicos may wish to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas, which has consular responsibilities over the territory.
• U.S. Embassy
Tel: 242-322-1181 or 242-328-2206
• Canadian Embassy
2001 Leeward Highway
• UK Overseas Territory
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tel: (649) 946 2309
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Visit the British Embassy web site at http://www.britain-info.org for the most current information. For tourist stays up to 30 days, U.S. citizens need a passport, naturalization certificate, or original certified birth certificate as well as photo identification, onward or return tickets, and sufficient funds for their stay. A departure tax is required of all persons 12 years of age and older.
HIV Test: Not required.
Required Vaccinations: Travelers entering the country from an endemic area are required to present a certificate of immunization against yellow fever.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are British Overseas Territory comprising a small archipelago of eight major islands and numerous uninhabited keys 600 miles southeast of Miami. Most tourist facilities are located on Providenciales (“Provo”) Island. The U.S. dollar is the unit of currency and the larger hotels and shops accept credit cards. The U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas has jurisdiction for consular matters in the Turks and Caicos.
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 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, business travelers, and cruise passengers who restrict their meals to major restaurants, hotels and resorts.
Yellow Fever: Travelers >1 year of age entering the country from a yellow fever endemic area are required to present a certificate of immunization against yellow fever. Scroll down for maps of endemic areas.
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. 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, including air ambulance medevac. 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 the United States.
Adequate but limited health care is available in Turks and Caicos. Facilities include:
• Turks and Caicos Islands Government Hospital
Emergency Tel: 649-946-4242 Decompression chamber facility. List of medical & dental clinics.
Private clinic. Qualified UK-trained physicians and surgeon experienced in treating, managing and stabilizing medical, surgical and obstetric emergencies; recompression chamber for divers. Well-equipped E.R with cardiac monitors/defibrillators; diagnostic CAT scan/ X-Ray/ultrasound. Frequent close liaison with the specialist hospitals in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area allow for rapid transfer to a state-of-the-art medical facility.
DESTINATION HEALTH INFO FOR TRAVELERS
AIDS/HIV: Heterosexual sex, including commercial sex, is now the main route of transmission throughout the Caribbean and women and young people are particularly vulnerable. It is estimated that men who have sex with men (MSM) account for 12% of infections, but the actual proportion is probably higher, due to denial and under-reporting. Within the Caribbean, each country faces a unique situation. At one extreme, Haiti has the highest HIV prevalence in the entire western hemisphere (3.8%); at the other, Cuba has one of the lowest (0.1%). The Bahamas (3.3%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.6%) and Guyana (2.4%) are all heavily affected, while Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean country apart from Cuba where it is thought that less than 1% of the population is living with HIV. There are signs that the epidemic is receding in parts of Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas. In Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana, however, there are no signs that the spread of HIV is slowing. Furthermore, HIV surveillance in the Caribbean is generally considered inadequate, so these reported trends are only vague indicators. Both HIV prevalence and AIDS cases are thought to be widely underestimated in the region. (Source: Avert.org)
No data on the prevalence of HIV in the Turks and Caicos is currently available.
• 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.
Update 2018: The drug Truvada© is now available for pre-exposure prophylaxis. TRUVADA for PrEP®(pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex, when taken every day and used together with safer sex practices.
Accidents: 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.
Dengue fever & Chikungunya fever: These mosquito-transmitted viral diseases (often called “breakbone fever”) are widespread throughout the Caribbean. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases.
• Dengue and chikungunya fever are 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 these diseases.
Dengue fever maps are here.
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 moderately elevated at 3% to 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 unclear. 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 world’s 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.
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
• Scuba Diving-Hyperbaric Chamber Referral:
Rabies: The Turks and Caicos is considered to be rabies-free. All unprovoked animal bites, however, should be medically evaluated.
Travelers’ Diarrhea: Low to medium risk. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you 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.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic (e.g. Cipro), azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), 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 vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all unvaccinated people (except short-stay visitors and cruise ship passengers) traveling to or working in The Caribbean, 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.