Facilities and Health Information
While adequate medical facilities can be found in large cities, particularly in private hospitals, the quality of care can vary greatly outside major population centers. There is an emergency 911 service within Santo Domingo, but its reliability is questionable. Outside the capital, emergency services range from extremely limited to nonexistent. Blood supplies at both public and private hospitals are often limited, and not all facilities have blood on hand even for emergencies. Many medical facilities throughout the country do not have staff members who speak or understand English. A private nationwide ambulance service, ProMed, operates in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata and La Romana; the telephone number is 809-412-5555. ProMed expects full payment at the time of transport.
Consult closely with your medical practitioner in the United States regarding any locally available treatments or therapies before traveling to the Dominican Republic for procedures which are not licensed and approved in the United States. Experimental procedures carry certain risks as the quality of treatment varies from U.S. standards.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a non-comprehensive list of medical providers in the Dominican Republic. The availability of prescription drugs varies depending upon location. Also, specific brand name drugs may not be available in the Dominican Republic. There have been some instances of counterfeit drugs infiltrating the Dominican market. You are advised to make sure you are traveling with an adequate supply of prescription drugs to meet your needs while in the Dominican Republic.
Tap water is unsafe to drink and should be avoided. Bottled water and beverages are considered safe.
Dengue: Dengue is endemic to the Dominican Republic. To reduce the risk of contracting dengue, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing clothing that exposes as little skin as possible and applying a repellent containing the insecticide DEET (concentration 30 to 35 percent) or Picaridin (concentration 20 percent or greater for tropical travelers). Because of the increased risk of dengue fever and the ongoing risk of malaria in the Dominican Republic (see below), practicing preventative measures is recommended by the CDC. Forfurther information on dengue fever, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
Cholera: According to the Dominican Republic's Ministry of Health, more than 15,000 suspected cases of cholera and 262 related deaths have been reported throughout the country from November 2010 to early 2013. Several cases have been reported in travelers returning from Punta Cana resorts. Cholera vaccine, available in many countries, but not in the U.S., is recommended for aid and refugee workers only. Extreme care in hygiene and food habits for travel to risk areas, including resort areas, is advised. Carry oral rehydration salts in case of severe watery diarrhea. Azithromycin is recommended for diarrhea self-treatment; the epidemic strain of Vibrio cholerae has reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin and other quinolones.
Malaria: There are occasional reports of cases of malaria in areas frequented by U.S. and European tourists including La Altagracia Province, the easternmost province in which many beach resorts are located. Malaria risk is significantly higher for travelers who go on some of the excursions to the countryside offered by many resorts. Prior to visiting the Dominican Republic, travelers should consult the CDC web site for more information on malaria.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Be aware that sexually transmitted diseases are common in the Dominican Republic. Please take appropriate precautions to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Cosmetic Surgery: The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo and the CDC are aware of several cases in which U.S. citizens experienced serious complications or died following elective cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic. The CDC's Website contains a report on patients who suffered postoperative infections following cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic. Patients considering travel to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery may also wish to contact the Dominican Society of Plastic Surgeons (tel. 809-688-8451) to verify the training, qualifications, and reputation of specific doctors. Note that some plastic surgeons continue to practice after patients have died during or after cosmetic surgery procedures, so the U.S. Embassy urges strong caution when considering cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic. Please note there is no regulatory authority governing claims that some doctors or clinics make on their websites.
Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved
Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved
Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population
People Living with HIV/AIDS
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population
Sanitation Facility Access - % of total population unimproved
Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved
Sanitation Facility Access - % of rural population improved
Infectious Diseases - degree of risk
Food or Waterborne Disease (s)
bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne Disease (s)