The Costa Rican Ministry of Health has reported limited local transmission of malaria in Matina Canton in Limón Province, Sarapiquí Canton in Heredia Province, and Pital District in San Carlos Canton in Alajuela Province. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with malaria and spreading it to people. Other than a small outbreak at the end of 2016, this is the first local transmission of malaria in Costa Rica since 2011.
At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend that travelers to Costa Rica take medicine to prevent malaria. Public health authorities are responding to this outbreak by enhancing malaria surveillance, making sure that patients are diagnosed and treated promptly, and educating the community and health care workers on malaria.
Because malaria is spread by mosquito bites, travelers to Costa Rica should prevent mosquito bites (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites). This includes using insect repellent when outdoors, wearing protective clothing, and sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net.
Learn more about malaria, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you are infected at CDC’s malaria page for travelers (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/malaria).
For further information about security in Costa Rica:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Costa Rica Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, located at Calle 98 Vía 104, Pavas, San José, at +506 2519-2000, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +506 2519-2000and then asking to be transferred to the Duty Officer
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).