As in much of the Caribbean, the Zika virus is present in Martinique and can cause microcephaly in babies if a pregnant mother is infected. For this reason it's extremely important to cover your body, use mosquito repellent and sleep under a mosquito net if you are – or have any chance of being – pregnant. Symptoms of Zika are mild fever, joint and muscle pain, headaches, skin rash and/or conjunctivitis, which normally last for between a few days a week.
Dengue fever has made an unwelcome reappearance in Martinique in recent years. Dengue is transmitted by mosquito bites, so again, take all the necessary precautions. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience fever, exhaustion or extreme fatigue.
There is also a risk of bilharzia (schistosomiasis) infection throughout the island; the main precaution is to avoid wading or swimming in fresh water.
The fer-de-lance, an aggressive pit viper, resides on Martinique. The snake’s bite is highly toxic and sometimes fatal, so it’s essential for victims to get an antivenin injection as soon as possible. They favor overgrown and brushy fields, so hikers should be alert for the snakes and stick to established trails.
Beware of manchineel trees found on some beaches, particularly on the south coast, as rainwater dripping off them can cause skin rashes and blistering. Their trunks are usually marked with a band of red paint.
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Before You Go
There are no compulsory vaccinations needed to enter Martinique.
Health insurance is a good idea for all travellers to Martinique, even if you are covered by a reciprocal agreement between your home country and France.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Medical care is similar to that in mainland France, and so is excellent by the standards of the region. The biggest hospital is the CHU de Martinique in Fort-de-France, though there are smaller hospitals in almost every region. There are plenty of pharmacies throughout the island; look for the green cross, often flashing in neon.
EU citizens can get healthcare costs refunded through their European Health Cards. When paying for medical care, nationals of other countries should use keep all receipts to reclaim money from their health-insurance providers.
Tap water is safe to drink in Martinique.