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Argentina
Summary of recommendationsMedicationsImmunizations
Recent outbreaksOther infectionsFood and water precautions
Insect and Tick ProtectionGeneral adviceAmbulance and Emergency Services
Medical facilitiesPharmaciesTraveling with children
Travel and pregnancyMapsEmbassy/Consulate Location
Safety information

 

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Summary of recommendations:

All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure.

Malaria: Prophylaxis with chloroquine, Lariam (mefloquine), Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil), doxycyline, or primaquine is recommended for rural areas of Salta province (along the border with Bolivia)
Vaccinations:

Hepatitis A

Recommended for all travelers

Typhoid

For travelers who may eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels

Yellow fever

Recommended for the northern and northeastern forested areas of Argentina bordering Brazil and Paraguay, including Corrientes (Berón de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itatí, Ituzaingó, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martín, San Miguel, Santo Tomé) and Misiones (all departments). Vaccination is also recommended for travelers visiting Iguassu Falls. For Chaco (Bermejo), Formosa (all departments), Jujuy (Ledesma, San Pedro, Santa Bárbara, Valle Grande), and Salta (Anta, General José de San Martín, Oran, Rivadavia), recommended only for those at risk for a large number of mosquito bites. Not recommended for areas greater than 2300 m in elevation and all provinces and departments not listed above.

Rabies

For travelers at high risk for animal bites or involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given

Tetanus-diphtheria

Revaccination recommended every 10 years

Medications

Travelers' diarrhea is the most common travel-related ailment. The cornerstone of prevention is food and water precautions, as outlined below. All travelers should bring along an antibiotic and an antidiarrheal drug to be started promptly if significant diarrhea occurs, defined as three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24-hour period, especially if associated with nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool. A quinolone antibiotic is usually prescribed: either ciprofloxacin (Cipro)(PDF) 500 mg twice daily or levofloxacin (Levaquin) 500 mg once daily for a total of three days. Quinolones are generally well-tolerated, but occasionally cause sun sensitivity and should not be given to children, pregnant women, or anyone with a history of quinolone allergy. Alternative regimens include a three day course of rifaximin (Xifaxan) 200 mg three times daily or azithromycin (Zithromax) 500 mg once daily. Rifaximin should not be used by those with fever or bloody stools and is not approved for pregnant women or those under age 12. Azithromycin should be avoided in those allergic to erythromycin or related antibiotics. An antidiarrheal drug such as loperamide (Imodium) or diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken as needed to slow the frequency of stools, but not enough to stop the bowel movements completely. Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) and loperamide (Imodium) should not be given to children under age two.

Most cases of travelers' diarrhea are mild and do not require either antibiotics or antidiarrheal drugs. Adequate fluid intake is essential.

If diarrhea is severe or bloody, or if fever occurs with shaking chills, or if abdominal pain becomes marked, or if diarrhea persists for more than 72 hours, medical attention should be sought.

Though effective, antibiotics are not recommended prophylactically (i.e. to prevent diarrhea before it occurs) because of the risk of adverse effects, though this approach may be warranted in special situations, such as immunocompromised travelers.

Malaria in Argentina: prophylaxis is recommended for rural areas of Salta province (along the border with Bolivia). Options include mefloquine (Lariam), atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)(PDF), doxycycline, and primaquine. Mefloquine is taken once weekly in a dosage of 250 mg, starting one-to-two weeks before arrival and continuing through the trip and for four weeks after departure. Mefloquine may cause mild neuropsychiatric symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, and nightmares. Rarely, severe reactions occur, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, hallucinations, and seizures. Mefloquine should not be given to anyone with a history of seizures, psychiatric illness, cardiac conduction disorders, or allergy to quinine or quinidine. Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) is a combination pill taken once daily with food starting two days before arrival and continuing through the trip and for seven days after departure. Side-effects, which are typically mild, may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, or dizziness. Serious adverse reactions are rare. Doxycycline is effective, but may cause an exaggerated sunburn reaction, which limits its usefulness in the tropics. Primaquine may cause hemolytic anemia in those with G6PD deficiency, so a blood test documenting normal G6PD levels must be obtained before starting primaquine. In those with normal G6PD levels, the main side-effect of primaquine is gastrointestinal disturbance, which can be minimized by taking the medication with food.

Insect protection measures are strongley advised, as below, for Salta province.

Rare cases of malaria are reported from the city of Puerto Iguazú in Misiones Province. For Misiones province, insect protection measures are advised, but medications are not necessary. There is no malaria transmission at Iguassu Falls.

For further information about malaria in Argentina, including maps showing the risk of malaria in different parts of the country, go to the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

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Immunizations

The following are the recommended vaccinations for Argentina.

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers over one year of age. It should be given at least two weeks (preferably four weeks or more) before departure. A booster should be given 6-12 months later to confer long-term immunity. Two vaccines are currently available in the United States: VAQTA (Merck and Co., Inc.) (PDF) and Havrix (GlaxoSmithKline) (PDF). Both are well-tolerated. Side-effects, which are generally mild, may include soreness at the injection site, headache, and malaise.

Older adults, immunocompromised persons, and those with chronic liver disease or other chronic medical conditions who have less than two weeks before departure should receive a single intramuscular dose of immune globulin (0.02 mL/kg) at a separate anatomic injection site in addition to the initial dose of vaccine. Travelers who are less than one year of age or allergic to a vaccine component should receive a single intramuscular dose of immune globulin (see hepatitis A for dosage) in the place of vaccine.

Typhoid vaccine is 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. It is generally given in an oral form (Vivotif Berna) consisting of four capsules taken on alternate days until completed. The capsules should be kept refrigerated and taken with cool liquid. Side-effects are uncommon and may include abdominal discomfort, nausea, rash or hives. The alternative is an injectable polysaccharide vaccine (Typhim Vi Aventis Pasteur Inc.) (PDF), given as a single dose. Adverse reactions, which are uncommon, may include discomfort at the injection site, fever and headache. The oral vaccine is approved for travelers at least six years old, whereas the injectable vaccine is approved for those over age two. There are no data concerning the safety of typhoid vaccine during pregnancy. The injectable vaccine (Typhim Vi) is probably preferable to the oral vaccine in pregnant and immunocompromised travelers.

Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for all travelers nine months of age or older who are going to northern and northeastern forested areas of Argentina bordering Brazil and Paraguay less than 2300 m in elevation. Travelers to designated departments in the following provinces should be vaccinated: Corrientes (Berón de Astrada, Capital, General Alvear, General Paz, Itatí, Ituzaingó, Paso de los Libres, San Cosme, San Martín, San Miguel, Santo Tomé) and Misiones (all departments). Vaccination is also recommended for travelers visiting Iguassu Falls. The vaccine should be considered only for those at increased risk due to prolonged travel, heavy exposure to mosquitoes, or inability to avoid mosquito bites, for travel to the designated departments in the following provinces less than 2300 m in elevation: Chaco (Bermejo), Formosa (all departments), Jujuy (Ledesma, San Pedro, Santa Bárbara, Valle Grande), and Salta (Anta, General José de San Martín, Oran, Rivadavia) (see map). Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas greater than 2300 m in elevation and all provinces and departments not listed above (see CDC map). Yellow fever vaccine (YF-VAX Aventis Pasteur Inc.) (PDF) must be administered at an approved yellow fever vaccination center, which will give each vaccinee a fully validated International Certificate of Vaccination. Reactions to the vaccine, which are generally mild, include headaches, muscle aches, and low-grade fevers. Serious allergic reactions, such as hives or asthma, are rare and generally occur in those with a history of egg allergy. The vaccine should not in general be given to those who are younger than nine months of age, pregnant, immunocompromised, or allergic to eggs.

Rabies vaccine is recommended only for those at high risk for animal bites, such as veterinarians and animal handlers, for long-term travelers living in areas with a high risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats. Human rabies is rare in Argentina and is generally transmitted by bats, though cases may also be transmitted by dog bites. A complete preexposure series consists of three doses of vaccine injected into the deltoid muscle on days 0, 7, and 21 or 28. Side-effects may include pain at the injection site, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, dizziness, or allergic reactions.

Any animal bite or scratch should be thoroughly cleaned with large amounts of soap and water and local health authorities should be contacted immediately for possible post-exposure treatment, whether or not the person has been immunized against rabies.

Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine is recommended for all travelers who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria immunization within the last 10 years.

Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine: two doses are recommended (if not previously given) for all travelers born after 1956, unless blood tests show immunity. Many adults born after 1956 and before 1970 received only one vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella as children and should be given a second dose before travel. MMR vaccine should not be given to pregnant or severely immunocompromised individuals.

Polio vaccine is not recommended for any adult traveler who completed the recommended childhood immunizations. Polio has been eradicated from the Americas, except for a small outbreak of vaccine-related poliomyelitis in the Dominican Republic and Haiti in late 2000.

Cholera vaccine is not recommended. Cholera is not being reported from Argentina at this time.

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Recent outbreaks

An outbreak of leptospirosis was reported in April 2014 from San Justo, Santa Fe Province, causing six cases and one fatality. In early 2010, a leptospirosis outbreak occurred in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Rios after heavy rains and flooding. A total of 48 cases, one of them fatal, were reported from Entre Rios in the first three months of the year. A total of 32 cases, six of them fatal, were described in Santa Fe in the first two months of the year. A previous leptospirosis outbreak occurred in Santa Fe province in April 2007, also after flooding (see ProMED-mail, April 29, 2007; March 2 and April 5, 2010; and April 29, 2014).

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection acquired by exposure to water contaminated by the urine of infected animals, chiefly rats, pigs and dogs. The disease causes flu-like symptoms and rash, sometimes complicated by meningitis, jaundice and kidney failure. Travelers to Santa Fe and Entre Rios provinces should avoid exposure to bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, ponds, and streams.

An outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis, a mosquito-borne viral infection which is usually mild but is occasionally life-threatening, was reported from San Juan in April 2011, causing seven confirmed cases, as well as a number of additional suspected cases. An isolated case was reported from Corrientes province in June 2011, apparently unrelated to the San Juan outbreak. In March 2010, four cases of St. Louis encephalitis were reported from the city and province of Buenos Aires, representing the first time that St. Louis encephalitis virus was detected in Buenos Aires. Small outbreaks of St. Louis encephalitis were reported from the province of Cordoba between January and May, 2005, and again in March 2010. Cases have also been reported from the province of Entre Rios (see ProMED-mail). All travelers to San Juan, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Entre Rios should follow insect protection measures, as below.

An outbreak of visceral leishmaniasis was reported in February 2011 from the city of Corrientes in northeastern Argentina, causing 13 cases (see ProMED-mail, February 22, 2011). Visceral leishmaniasis is characterized by fever, weight loss, anemia, and enlargement of the liver and spleen developing over months to years. The disease is transmitted by sandflies, which are about one-third the size of mosquitoes. Sandflies typically bite from dusk to dawn, but may bite during the daytime if disturbed. There is no vaccine at present. The key to prevention is insect protection measures, which are essentially the same as those outlined for mosquitoes, except that netting must be finer-mesh (at least 18 holes to the linear inch) since sandflies are smaller.

An outbreak of dengue fever, a flu-like illness sometimes complicated by hemorrhage or shock, was reported in April 2011, causing 196 cases, chiefly in Santa Fe province. A major dengue outbreak was reported from northern Argentina in early 2009, causing more than 25,000 cases and nine deaths by early June. The largest number of cases were reported from the northern province of Chaco, followed by the provinces of Catamarca and Salta. Cases were also described in the provinces of Jujuy, Formosa, Tucuman, Santa Fe, and Corrientes. As of March 2010, a total of 672 dengue cases had been recorded for the year, chiefly from the northern part of Misiones province, as well as from Chaco, Corrientes, Santa Fe, and Buenos Aires provinces. Dengue fever is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite primarily in the daytime and favor densely populated areas, though they also inhabit rural environments. No vaccine is available at this time. Insect protection measures are recommended, as below.

Dengue had not been recorded in Argentina for decades, but re-emerged in the late 1990s. A large outbreak occurred in the year 2000, when a total of 1700 cases were recorded. In April 2006, a small dengue outbreak was reported from Misiones Province, which borders Brazil and Paraguay. In February 2007, a dengue outbreak occurred in the provinces of Formosa, Misiones, and Salta, apparently spreading from neighboring Paraguay, which was experiencing a dengue epidemic at the time.

An outbreak of yellow fever was reported in March 2008 from Misiones Province, in the northeastern corner of Argentina, on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. As of April 12, three confirmed cases were reported from the department of Guarana, one from San Pedro, one from El Dorado, and one from the city of Bernardo de Irigoyen (see the Pan-American Health Organization and ProMED-mail, April 28, 2008). In January 2009, a case of yellow fever was reported in a Paraguayan man who appeared to have been infected while visiting Misiones province. Yellow fever outbreaks among monkeys, which frequently precede the appearance of human cases, were reported from Misiones province in February 2008 and again in October and December 2008. Monkey cases were also reported from the province of Corrientes. Yellow fever vaccine is recommended all travelers older than 9 months who are going to the northern and northeastern forested areas of Argentina, including Iguaçu Falls and all areas bordering Paraguay and Brazil.

An outbreak of rabies was reported among dogs in Jujuy province in northeastern Argentina in 2007 and 2008, leading to at least one human fatality (see ProMED-mail, July 24, 2008). As above, rabies vaccine is recommended for those at high risk for animal bites, such as veterinarians and animal handlers, and for long-term travelers who may have contact with animals and may not have access to medical care.

An outbreak of typhoid fever was reported in January 2007 from Jujuy Province in the extreme northwest of the country (see ProMED-mail, January 16, 2007). Typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers to Argentina, with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels.

An outbreak of hepatitis A was reported from Neuquen Province in September 2006, resulting in 55 cases as of September 26 (see ProMED-mail, October 4, 2006). Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers to Argentina.

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Other infections

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a life-threatening viral infection complicated by pneumonia and respiratory failure. The virus is usually transmitted by contact with rodents or rodent excrement and occasionally from person-to-person. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome usually occurs in those who live in rodent-infested dwellings in rural areas. The disease is unlikely to affect most travelers, though campers in forest areas may be at risk. In Argentina, hantavirus infections chiefly occur in the southwestern part of the country, in the western Patagonia region bordering Chile, consisting of the western strip of Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut, and Santa Cruz provinces. Cases are also reported from north-central Argentina and from Misiones Province in the northeastern part of the country. See Emerging Infectious Diseases for further information.

Two cases of hantavirus infection were reported from the mountain area of Chubut in August 2011. Four cases of hantavirus infection were reported from Victoria (Entre Rios province) in May 2011. One case was reported from Neuquen province in May 2011. Two cases were reported from Santa Fe Province in April 2011. Three cases were reported in January 2011 from the Oran area in Salta province. A total of 30 cases were reported nationwide for the year 2010. One fatality was reported in early 2010 from Bariloche, in the mountains of western Argentina. Two fatal cases were reported from north of Salta and one case from Neuquen in April 2010. One fatal case was reported from Entre Rios in October 2010 and one case in December 2010 was acquired in the Quilmes area.

Chagas disease occurs north of latitude 44 degrees 45'. Transmission is greatest during late spring (November and December). The disease is usually transmitted by Triatoma infestans, an insect which infests houses. Transmission has fallen markedly in recent years, due to an aggressive program of house spraying with insecticide in endemic areas. Screening of stored blood, which may also transmit Chagas disease, has been mandatory in Argentina since 1983.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection is reported, but travelers are not at risk unless they have unprotected sexual contacts or receive injections or blood transfusions.

Other infections include

  • Argentine hemorrhagic fever (pampas areas, chiefly from March through October, acquired by inhalation of dust contaminated with rodent excreta or by direct rodent contact; three non-fatal cases reported from Perez city in July-August 2012)
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • St. Louis encephalitis (mosquito-borne viral infection; infrequent, but outbreaks reported from Cordoba between January and May, 2005, and again in March 2010; four cases reported fro Buenos Aires in March 2010 and five cases from San Juan in March 2011; see ProMED-mail, March 26, 2010, and March 31, 2011)
  • West Nile virus infections (small number of human cases reported from Cordoba in 2006)
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis (northeastern Argentina)
  • Visceral leishmaniasis (chiefly northern Argentina; increased number of cases reported in recent years; 36 cases reported from 2006 through February 2009, four of them fatal; see ProMED-mail, February 25, 2009, and December 30, 2011)
  • Trichinellosis (usually related to consumption of pork products, especially homemade sausage; in December 2012, warning issued not to eat pork slaughtered domestically in Bariloche, Rio Negro province, due to trichinellosis risk; outbreak of 59 cases reported from Buenos Aires in October 2012, all related to pork sausages sold by the same street vendor; outbreak in Tancacha community, Cordoba, in August 2012; outbreaks reported from Ticino and Junin de los Andes in May 2012; outbreak reported from Cordoba in November 2010, related to dry salami, and from Pueblo Belgrano, Entre Rios province, in August 2010)
  • Louse-borne typhus (mountain areas)
  • Murine typhus (warmer rural and jungle areas in the north)
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever (northern Argentina)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (outbreak reported from Jujuy Province in 2003-2004; see AJTMH)
  • Anthrax (occupational hazard among those working with farm animals; three human cases reported from the Province of Buenos Aires in the year 2011; outbreak reported from Gonzales-Chaves Municipality, Province of Buenos Aires, in January 2009; in the year 2008, four human cases reported from the Province of Buenos Aires and two from the Province of Entre Rios)
  • Cholera (only three cases reported since 1999)
  • Brucellosis (cases reported from the Margen Sur de Rio Grande community in December 2011)
  • Cysticercosis
  • Echinococcus
  • Fascioliasis (sheep-raising areas)

For in-depth public health information, go to the Pan-American Health Organization. For further information, go to the Ministerio de Salud and the PAHO Country Office (both in Spanish).

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Food and water precautions

Tap water is generally safe to drink in major cities, but water quality is variable in rural areas. If in doubt, do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. Avoid cooked foods that are no longer piping hot. Cooked foods that have been left at room temperature are particularly hazardous. Avoid unpasteurized milk and any products that might have been made from unpasteurized milk, such as ice cream. Avoid food and beverages obtained from street vendors. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish, including ceviche. Some types of fish may contain poisonous biotoxins even when cooked. Barracuda in particular should never be eaten. Other fish that may contain toxins include red snapper, grouper, amberjack, and sea bass.

All travelers should bring along an antibiotic and an antidiarrheal drug to be started promptly if significant diarrhea occurs, defined as three or more loose stools in an 8-hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24-hour period, especially if accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cramps, fever or blood in the stool. Antibiotics which have been shown to be effective include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), rifaximin (Xifaxan), or azithromycin (Zithromax). Either loperamide (Imodium) or diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken in addition to the antibiotic to reduce diarrhea and prevent dehydration.

If diarrhea is severe or bloody, or if fever occurs with shaking chills, or if abdominal pain becomes marked, or if diarrhea persists for more than 72 hours, medical attention should be sought.

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Insect and Tick Protection

Wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). For rural and forested areas, boots are preferable, with pants tucked in, to prevent tick bites. Apply insect repellents containing 25-50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) or 20% picaridin (Bayrepel) to exposed skin (but not to the eyes, mouth, or open wounds). DEET may also be applied to clothing. Products with a lower concentration of either repellent need to be repplied more frequently. Products with a higher concentration of DEET carry an increased risk of neurologic toxicity, especially in children, without any additional benefit. Do not use either DEET or picaridin on children less than two years of age. For additional protection, apply permethrin-containing compounds to clothing, shoes, and bed nets. Permethrin-treated clothing appears to have little toxicity. Don't sleep with the window open unless there is a screen. If sleeping outdoors or in an accommodation that allows entry of mosquitoes, use a bed net, preferably impregnated with insect repellent, with edges tucked in under the mattress. The mesh size should be less than 1.5 mm. If the sleeping area is not otherwise protected, use a mosquito coil, which fills the room with insecticide through the night. In rural or forested areas, perform a thorough tick check at the end of each day with the assistance of a friend or a full-length mirror. Ticks should be removed with tweezers, grasping the tick by the head. Many tick-borne illnesses can be prevented by prompt tick removal.

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General advice

Bring adequate supplies of all medications in their original containers, clearly labeled. Carry a signed, dated letter from the primary physician describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to carry a physician's letter documenting their medical necessity.Pack all medications in hand luggage. Carry a duplicate supply in the checked luggage. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring an extra pair. If you have significant allergies or chronic medical problems, wear a medical alert bracelet.

Make sure your health insurance covers you for medical expenses abroad. If not, supplemental insurance for overseas coverage, including possible evacuation, should be seriously considered. If illness occurs while abroad, medical expenses including evacuation may run to tens of thousands of dollars. For a list of travel insurance and air ambulance companies, go to Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad on the U.S. State Department website. Bring your insurance card, claim forms, and any other relevant insurance documents. Before departure, determine whether your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. The Medicare and Medicaid programs do not pay for medical services outside the United States.

Pack a personal medical kit, customized for your trip (see description). Take appropriate measures to prevent motion sickness and jet lag, discussed elsewhere. On long flights, be sure to walk around the cabin, contract your leg muscles periodically, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent blood clots in the legs. For those at high risk for blood clots, consider wearing compression stockings.

Avoid contact with stray dogs and other animals. If an animal bites or scratches you, clean the wound with large amounts of soap and water and contact local health authorities immediately. Wear sun block regularly when needed. Use condoms for all sexual encounters. Ride only in motor vehicles with seat belts. Do not ride on motorcycles.

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Ambulance and Emergency Services

For an ambulance in Argentina, call 107 or 4923-1051/9; 4342-4001/9. In the Buenos Aires suburbs, an ambulance can also be reached by calling 911.

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Medical facilities

Good medical care is available in private hospitals in Buenos Aires. Many travelers go to the Hospital Britanico (British Hospital) (Perdriel 74 - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina - C1280AEB; tel. 4309-6400; website http://www.hbritanico.com.ar/sitio/eng/; granted the Quality Assurance Certificate by the ITAES - Technical Institute of Accreditation to Healthcare Institutions), which offers a 24-hour emergency room and a broad range of specialty services. Another highly regarded facility is the Hospital Aleman (German Hospital) (Av. Pueyrredon 1640, La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, tel. 4821-1700; website http://www.hospitalaleman.com.ar/).

Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance. Health care is available free of charge to all, including foreigners, through the public health system, but the quality is not comparable to that in the private hospitals or North America. For a guide to other doctors, clinics, and hospitals, go to the U.S. Embassy website. Life-threatening medical problems will require air evacuation to a country with state-of-the-art medical facilities.

The U.S. State Department advises that "Many Americans come to Argentina for elective surgery procedures advertised through the Internet. Prospective patients should carefully review each surgeon’s credentials and ensure that the procedures will be conducted in a hospital or clinic that provides emergency care. Medical experts also advise patients to provide their surgeons a complete health history before traveling and to allow adequate time in Argentina for follow-up care."

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Pharmacies

Pharmacies in Argentina, which are denoted by a green cross, are abundant and generally well-supplied. Leading pharmacy chains include Vantage (http://www.vantage.com.ar/), Zona Vital (http://www.zonavital.com/) and Farmacity (http://www.farmacity.com.ar/). See their websites for locations.

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Traveling with children

Make sure you have the names and contact information for qualified medical personnel before you go abroad (see the U.S. Embassy website).

In general, the recommendations for infants and young children are the same as those for adults, except that certain vaccines and medications should not be administered to this age group. Most importantly, yellow fever vaccine is not approved for use in those under age nine months. Unless there is an extraordinary need to do so, children less than nine months of age should not be brought to the northeastern forest areas, where yellow fever occurs.

The recommendations for malaria prophylaxis are the same for young children as for adults, except that the dosage of chloroquine is lower. DEET-containing insect repellents are not advised for children under age two, so it's particularly important to keep children in this age group well-covered to protect them from mosquito bites.

Food and water precautions, which are recommended for all travelers, must be strictly followed at all times, because diarrhea is especially dangerous in this age group and because the vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid fever are not approved for children less than two years of age.

All children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children who are 12 months or older should receive a total of 2 doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, separated by at least 28 days, before international travel. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 months should be given a single dose of measles vaccine. MMR vaccine may be given if measles vaccine is not available, though immunization against mumps and rubella is not necessary before age one unless visiting a country where an outbreak is in progress. Children less than one year of age may also need to receive other immunizations ahead of schedule (see the accelerated immunization schedule).

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Travel and pregnancy

International travel should be avoided by pregnant women with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or a history of complications during previous pregnancies, such as miscarriage or premature labor. For pregnant women in good health, the second trimester (18–24 weeks) is probably the safest time to go abroad and the third trimester the least safe, since it's far better not to have to deliver in a foreign country.

Before departure, make sure you have the names and contact information for physicians, clinics, and hospitals where you can obtain emergency obstetric care if necessary (see the U.S. Embassy website). In general, pregnant women should avoid traveling to countries which do not have modern facilities for the management of premature labor and other complications of pregnancy.

Yellow fever vaccine, which consists of live virus, should not in general be given to pregnant women. Unless absolutely necessary, pregnant women should not travel to the northeastern forest areas, where yellow fever occurs.

In general, pregnant women should avoid visiting areas where malaria occurs. Malaria may cause life-threatening illness in both the mother and the unborn child. None of the currently available prophylactic medications is 100% effective. If travel to malarious areas is unavoidable, insect protection measures must be strictly followed at all times. The recommendations for DEET-containing insect repellents are the same for pregnant women as for other adults. Of the currently available drugs for malaria prophylaxis, chloroquine has the best safety record in pregnancy.

Strict attention to food and water precautions is especially important for the pregnant traveler because some infections, such as listeriosis, have grave consequences for the developing fetus. Additionally, many of the medications used to treat travelers' diarrhea may not be given during pregnancy. Quinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin), should not be given because of concern they might interfere with fetal joint development. Data are limited concerning trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, but the drug should probably be avoided during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. Options for treating travelers' diarrhea in pregnant women include azithromycin and third-generation cephalosporins. For symptomatic relief, the combination of kaolin and pectin (Kaopectate; Donnagel) appears to be safe, but loperamide (Imodium) should be used only when necessary. Adequate fluid intake is essential.

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Maps

Helpful maps are available in the University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Collection and the United Nations map library. If you have the name of the town or city you'll be visiting and need to know which state or province it's in, you might find your answer in the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names.

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Embassy/Consulate Location

(reproduced from the U.S. State Dept. Consular Information Sheet)

Americans living in or visiting Argentina are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires and obtain updated information on travel and security within Argentina. American Citizens may also register by fax by sending your full name, contact information, passport number and the name and phone number of a relative/friend the Embassy can contact in an emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenida Colombia 4300 in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires (near the Plaza Italia stop on the "D" line subway). The main Embassy switchboard telephone is (011)(54)(11) 5777-4533. Recorded consular information, including instructions on whom to contact in case of an American citizen emergency, is available at tel. (54)(11) 4514-1830. The main embassy fax is (54)(11) 5777-4240. The Consular Section fax is (011)(54)(11) 5777-4293. Additional information on Embassy services available to U.S. citizens is available on the Internet at http://buenosaires.usembassy.gov , or by e-mail: BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov .

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Safety information

For information on safety and security, go to the U.S. Department of State, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign Affairs Canada, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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