Animal bites

  • Bites from wandering dogs, bands of aggressive and smart mongrels living in the city streets or on the roads in the countryside
  • Bites from snakes, bats, monkeys, ants, leeches
  • Precaution: Wear high boots, be careful where you walk and where you sit, make some noise and kick the ground, shake your clothes and shoes before use.
  • In case of snake bite, clean the wound to avoid venom entering through the skin, and in an emergency go to the nearest doctor or medical center
  • Special syringes that suck out venom (not sold in Bolivia) may help
  • Antisera against the venom are not really recommended as they are difficult to transport (they have to be constantly refrigerated) and they are specific to one particular type of venom.

Insect bites

  • Bites from mosquitoes, vinchucas, scorpions, spiders

Tarentula and Vinchucas (Photo N. Brachet)
  • Use a repellent product (sold in Bolivian pharmacy). The efficiency of the product has a limited duration (maximum one hour), so frequently re-apply the repellent on exposed parts of the body. Some products should not be used by pregnant women.
  • Wear long and bright clothes that protect all your body. Do not hesitate to cover the clothes with some repellent product, the product remains efficient for a longer period than when it is sprayed on the skin (on the skin, the product looses efficiency as it enters the pores).
  • Use insecticide against mosquitoes in the bedroom.
  • You are less likely to be bothered by mosquitoes in rooms with air conditioning.
  • Doors and windows should include mosquito nets. For adventure tourism, where the insect risk is higher (e.g. the Amazonian forest), travel with a mosquito net (usually not sold in Bolivia) with a mesh size smaller than 1.5mm.
  • Preventive medical treatment: vaccinations, and malaria tablets suitable for the tropical regions to be visited (region dependent).

We were invited to sleep in the humble shelter of a peasant in the Cochabamba region. We were offered to sleep on a mattress made of straw, but we decided to use our own tent inside the bedroom to the great astonishment of all the villagers. In fact, despite of the reassuring words of the landlord, we had discovered a lot of dead vinchucas in the spider's webs hanging from the ceiling. It is sometimes better to look ridiculous than to risk your life.