Health and Safety
Midlatitude Buenos Aires and vicinity offer few major health risks beyond those associated with any large city; public health standards are good, and tap water is potable. In some parts of northernmost subtropical Argentina, though, there’s a small risk of malaria or similar tropical diseases, and the dengue mosquito vector has moved southward to the capital.
A good general source on foreign health matters is the fourth edition of Dr. Richard Dawood’s Travelers’ Health (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), a small encyclopedia on the topic. The 13th edition of Dr. Stuart R. Rose’s International Travel Health Guide (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006) is updated annually and regionally focused. Try also the fifth edition of Dirk G. Schroeder’s Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (Berkeley, CA: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2000).
For up-to-date information on health issues in Argentina and elsewhere in the Southern Cone, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel page (www.cdc.gov). Another good source is the United Kingdom’s Department of Health (www.dh.gov.uk), which provides a chart of recommended prophylaxis by country.
Note that at present, thanks to devaluation of the peso, quality medical care is so cheap that in some cases it might justify a trip to Buenos Aires, at least in some cases. As the peso has recovered and inflation risen, the price differential is no longer so great, but it may be worth at least a consultation.
Visitors considering medical care, however, should choose private hospitals and clinics, especially since the economic crisis has strained the resources of public hospitals. One outstanding choice is Clínica Fleni (Montañeses 2325, Belgrano, tel. 011/5777-3200, www.fleni.org.ar), whose focus is pediatrics and neurology but which also has outstanding orthopedists. Another possibility is the Fundación Favaloro (Avenida Belgrano 1746, Monserrat, tel. 011/4378-1200, www.fundacionfavaloro.org), whose specialty is cardiology. Nearly all the doctors at both are English-speaking.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition