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Since Bolivia is a tropical country, it has a large population of mosquitoes and all types of diseases.

Fortunately, the Andean area (at 3000 masl) is mosquito-free, but unfortunately it is not free of salmonella or altitude sickness.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, or "sorojchi" as it is called in Bolivia, is caused by a problem travelers have adapting to the altitude when they go directly from sea level to the El Alto International Airport located in El Alto, a city just outside of La Paz.

Symptoms: headache, insomnia, lack of appetite, fatigue, weakness, breathing problems, nausea and bloody spittle. It is a serious problem if it persists more than two hours, you need to get to a lower altitude immediately.

Treatment: sorojchipil, a remedy you can obtain at any pharmacy that is very efficient in overcoming altitude, coca leaf tea (either steeped or chewed with baking soda), paracetamol, drinking large amounts of water and, above all, rest.

Prevention: ascent slowly, no more than 1000 meters per day, and sleep at altitudes lower than you have been at during the day. Drink a lot of liquids and eat well (not too much and not too little).


This parasite is a friend to people who travel in Bolivia and eat in the markets, on the street and along the highways. It is a bacteria acquired by drinking unpurified water (except in La Paz where tap water is guaranteed) or bad food (not fresh or prepared in unsanitary conditions). This disease incubates about a week, lasts for 4 to 7 days and could lead to complications (typhoid fever) that could cause death.

There is a vaccine against typhoid fever, but it does not seem to be very effective because the bacteria can mutate easily.

Symptoms: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, abdominal pain.

Treatment: antibiotic prescribed by a doctor. It is cured in about two days.

Prevention: do not eat just anywhere; make sure you are eating food that is clean and drinking pure water.

If diarrhea persists after four days of treatment, you should see the doctor again.

Chagas Disease

This is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by an insect (vinchuca). The risk of contagion is high when you stay at an adobe dwelling that is infested by these insects. Another method of disease transmission is through blood transfusion because it is very common for blood donors to be unaware of carrying the disease.

Symptoms: The disease has two stages. The first is practically asymptomatic, while in the second stage the patient experiences the following symptoms: fever, discomfort, abdominal pain, swelling around the eyes, constipation and digestion problems.

Treatment: It is best treated during the first stage. Two drugs are used for this infection: benznidazole y nifurtimox.

Prevention: use mosquito netting and insecticides, and use blood from blood banks where testing is done to detect the disease. 


There are four types of malaria, two of which are endemic in Bolivia: Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.

Plasmodium falciparum (the least common) is the only one that can cause death, while Plasmodium vivax can have relapses.

Malaria is contracted from a mosquito (anopheles) bite, although it can be transmitted between humans through the placenta (mother to child during gestation) or blood transfusion

Symptoms: nausea, fever, chills, headache, muscular pain, blood in the feces, digestion problems, kidney failure, vomiting, fatigue, discomfort, diarrhea, etc.

Prevention: use a good insect repellant or eucalyptus oil, sleep with mosquito netting and remember that alcohol attracts mosquitoes. 


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