Infections endemic on Margarita Island:

Leishmania cutanea or leishmania of the old world and dengue fever:

This is an endemic disease transmitted by mosquitos and sand flies. Hosts are dogs, rats and other animals. This disease  can debilitate otherwise healthy adults, but occasionally manifests with severe fever in children.

Beware of street dogs. Many of them are infested and those appearing with `burned skin` long claws and skinny are in an advanced state of disease. If an infested person is documented, authorities identify infested dogs in the area and have them removed and also fumigate the area.

Dengue fever can be symptomless, cause flu-like symptoms or in the worst scenario cause high fever with haemoraghic manifestations and therefore become life-threatening. Endemic areas are fumigated by the health authorities.

If you go back to your home country and have inexplicable flu-like symptoms within days after your arrival let your doctor know where you have been.

AIDS (local=SIDA) : promiscuity and prostitution have spread AIDS over this island. BEWARE OF UNSAFE PRACTICES.

Food Poisoning: tap water (for locals ok if pouring out from the main pipe not from a reservoir or tank), beware of hot dogs sold on the street, mayonnaise salads, china rice (warmed up over days and left at room temp. =85-90 F). Mollusks incl. oysters sold on the beach by ambulant sellers (middle to high class restaurants are usually  OK). As soon as gastrointestinal symptoms start, ingestion of 2-3 tablets (adults) of medicinal carbon can be a helpfull and efficient treatment.

Snakes (local= culebra, serpiente, vibora): most snakes are not poisonous, but there are rattle snakes, usually small though and other small venomous snakes (in the sierra there are species of larger stature). They pose no danger and it's unusual that sombody is bitten. Sometimes, for some reason, snakes get into the living area. Don't panic; open doors and let her out pushing with a broom, but watch out, they are usually very fast.

Star Gazer (local=sapo): a fish that hides in shallow waters usually near rocky areas. It has a poisonous sting on its back. The fish does not flee if you come close and step on it. It is chamoflaged and buries itself under the sand, just the eyes and the sting sticking out. You don't see it. Its sting is extremely dolent and can hurt for years. The inoculated venom needs to be removed by surgery, so get home as soon as possible, also because after intervention you may not be able to walk normally for a while.

The sapo is virtually not present on busy beaches, but otherwise present in less frequented beaches. (There used to be a lot in el yaque beach.) It's not a problem when you swim, but rather when you walk.

In case of doubt, ask people : sapo? and point to the sea.

Millipede (local=cienpie) and scorpions (local=alacran): millipede exist in various forms, larger(3 by 10 inch), smaller(1 by 4 inch), all poisonous and usually hide in humid recesses. They don't pose a danger, but the sting is dolent. Scorpions are present and are more likely to be found in housing areas after rainy periods. Outside, they like to hide under rubble and stones (humid areas) and indoors the may frequent hidden and dark spots like the floor of a closet where are kept. Thus they may get rarely into shoes and also clothes thrown onto the floor or hung close to the floor. If the area is fumigated, this is unlikely to occur.


Tarantulas:  It is not uncommon to see tarantulas on the island ranging from 1" to 7" (diameter).  Local information indicates that they are absolutely harmless and in fact can be visited at the Labrinth Gardens near La Asuncion.

All these phenomena rarely pose a health problem, but you should be aware of their existence.

In Margarita, there are public and private hospitals some of them equipped with intensive care units. The nicest public hospital appears to be in Salamanca.

On entry in a private hospital they ask for a credit card or more. The public hospitals are free of charge, but may ask for a "collaboration" or donation.

Sometimes medicine is available without prescription in pharmacies. Narcotics do require a prescription in most pharmacies.

There are no vaccines mandatory for a travel to Margarita Island (note that this is different from the mainland Venezuela).

in serious cases consider and ask to be transferred to Caracas with hospital having better infrastructure and where you are only less then one hour away from the international airport which allows you to take off to your homecountry anytime.