Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

Use High Level of Caution

The Kyrgyz Republic, or Kyrgyzstan, is a mountainous country in central Asia, west of China and sharing borders with China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The population is about 5.5 million people. Kyrgyzstan’s government is a parliamentary republic with a president as chief of state and a prime minister as head of government.

In 1876, what is now Kyrgyzstan, was incorporated into the Russian empire. The country gained independence in August 1991 with the collapse of the USSR. In 2005, flawed elections and economic concerns created popular discontent with the government and the presidency. Since 2005, a succession of leaders followed until stability returned in 2011.

However, continuing concerns include political and economic corruption, tense relations between ethnic groups, terrorist threats, and unstable border security. The country still copes with slow economic growth due to the global financial crisis and the decline of oil prices.

The tourism sector is not well developed. However, Kyrgyzstan is known for remarkable, unspoiled natural beauty. There are opportunities for outdoor activities, such as camping and trekking.

Currency KGS: Kyrgyz som
Language Kyrgyz (national); Russian (official)
Capital Bishkek
Recent Alerts None
Latest Alert Not Available

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Kyrgyzstan. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in this country through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Kyrgyzstan through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in this country, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives. There is an increased risk for travellers who are in contact with an infected person, young children, long-term travellers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.

Rabies

Rabies has been reported in domestic and wild animals in this country. Bats may also carry rabies-like viruses. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever in this country, however, there is a certificate requirement. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Kyrgyzstan are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting ill friends or family or working in the health care field.

Malaria

The World Health Organization has declared this country to be free of malaria. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there is no risk of malaria; however, NaTHNac reports a very low risk of malaria in the southwest of the country in areas bordering Tajikistan and Uzbekistan from June to october. Anti-malaria medication is not recommended.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis occurs in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Kyrgyzstan.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

Due to the risk of exposure to hepatitis A, vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Due to the risk of exposure to hepatitis B, vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities and rural areas.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Travellers are not at risk for yellow fever for this country. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine

Most cases occur in grassy or forested areas less than 2,500 ft (750 m) elevation from April through November, with peaks in early and late summer. Outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, bicycling and outdoor occupations may bring a higher risk or exposure.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Kyrgyzstan.

None required.

Safety and Security in Kyrgyzstan

Emergency Numbers

102
103
101

Personal Safety

There is a high rate of crime in this country, such as muggings, robbery, pickpocketing and kidnapping. Foreigners can be targeted, and the risk increases at night. Always be aware of your personal safety, security and surroundings. Keep money and valuables secured and out of sight. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. You are required to be in possession of your passport at all times.

Drink spiking has occurred in this country with substances that can cause unconsciousness, brain injury, serious illness or even death. Do not accept drinks or food from strangers and never leave your drinks out of your sight.

Thieves sometimes target travellers at airports. Be very cautious of anyone who could be posing as police or unsolicited drivers at airports. If you are stopped, ask for official identification. Be cautious of anyone being overly friendly.

This is a conservative country with conservative expectations of behaviour and dress. For example, public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention.

Although not illegal, same-sex relationship are not generally socially acceptable in this culture.

Women should exercise extra security precautions, particularly if travelling alone. A common practice is the kidnapping of local women for marriage.

There are severe penalties for drug use and possession, including long prison sentences.

If possible, always book official taxis through a telephone dispatch service, and negotiate the fee before your ride. Do not get into a taxi that has other passengers.

Road travel outside urban city areas can be unsafe. Roads may be in poor condition, and not clearly marked. Service stations are not widely available in rural areas. Take all the supplies you will need with you. Local transportation vehicles may be poorly maintained and unsafe. There is zero tolerance for any blood alcohol level when driving.

The road between Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and Almaty, Kazakhstan, is particularly dangerous, and there are many traffic accidents on this road. Do not travel on this road after dark.

All Kyrgyz airlines are banned from operating services to the EU because they do not meet international safety standards.

Anyone trekking in this country should be aware of possible landslides, avalanches and falling rock. Use a reputable agency for booking a trekking trip. Do not go alone.

There is a high risk of earthquakes in Kyrgyzstan.

Medical facilities and supplies are limited. Medical care in remote areas is basic. Travellers may consider insurance that covers medical evacuation.

Declare your medical prescriptions and supplies when you arrive in this country. Make sure you do not exceed legal limits for possession of prescription drugs.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid travel to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek and Kyrgyz-Tajik border areas and the Ferghana Valley, including the cities of Osh, Jalalabad and Batken, due to the unstable and unpredictable security situation. Armed clashes may occur, and borders may be closed without notice. Border patrols for all three countries, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, conduct operations in the border areas.

In some border areas, landmines are a risk.

Political Unrest

There are ongoing concerns in this country regarding ethnic, political and socio-economic issues. There is the potential for civil unrest and perhaps targeting of western interests. Always avoid protests and demonstrations.

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