Health Advice for Jamaica

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Health Advice for Jamaica

Medical facilities on the island are not always up to par with European or American health care standards. Falling ill can sometimes result in major medical fees. Therefore, it is advised to buy travel insurance, as this will ensure peace of mind in emergency situations.

The tap water is generally good and safe to drink. All piped water in Jamaica is treated to international standards, and will be of the same quality you could expect to find in North America or Europe. Water service in rural areas can sometimes go out for several hours at a time. People in rural areas have their own water tanks, which catch water when it rains, so be ready to draw from a tank instead of turning a pipe. Water from these sources should be boiled before being consumed. Bottled water such as Wata (a local brand), Aquafina and Deer Park are widely available.

Be cautious of the water quality at public swimming beaches, such as "Walter Fletcher Beach" in Montego Bay, which some locals call "dump-up beach", situated near the north gully. Large amounts of solid and human waste flush down the gully during storm events. The water flowing down Dunn's River Falls has also been said to contain high amounts of coliform bacteria, indicating fecal contamination.

The country's adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is nearly at 1.6%. This is >2.5 times higher than the USA and 16 times higher than the UK. The country has a relatively low infection rate compared to other developing nations. Practice safe sex and avoid risky intravenous drug use.

Malaria can be a risk, mostly near the Kingston area. The island had been malaria free for decades, until isolated incidents popped up in recent years. Jamaica has continued to remain malaria free.

Rumors have been heard of people suffering from symptoms similar to Dengue fever after visiting the cockpit country, but confirmed reports do not exist. 

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