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Country Guides for North America

United States

United States Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation-state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.

Source: CIA World Factbook

In 1994, an international commission certified the eradication of endemic wild poliovirus from the Americas. Ongoing surveillance in formerly endemic Central and South American countries (Tropical and Temperate) confirms that poliovirus transmission remains interrupted.

The incidence of communicable diseases is such that they are unlikely to prove a hazard for international travelers greater than that found in their own country. There are, of course, health risks, but in general, the precautions required are minimal.

Certain diseases occasionally occur, such as plague, rabies in wildlife, including bats, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, arthropod-borne encephalitis, and seasonal outbreaks of influenza. The comprehensive CDC Influenza site answers questions raised about this 2003-2004 influenza season.

Rodent-borne hantavirus pulmonary syndrome has been identified, predominantly in the western states of the United States. Lyme disease is endemic in the northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic, and the upper Midwest and the southwestern provinces of Canada. Occasional cases have been reported from the Pacific Northwest. Recently, cases of West Nile virus have occurred throughout North America. During recent years, the incidence of certain foodborne diseases, e.g., E. coli O157:H7 and salmonellosis, has increased in some regions. Other hazards include poisonous snakes, poison ivy, and poison oak. In the north, a serious hazard is the very low temperature in the winter.

In the United States, proof of immunization against diphtheria, measles, poliomyelitis, and rubella is now universally required for entry into school. In addition, the school entry requirements of most states include immunization against tetanus (49 states), pertussis (44 states), mumps (46 states), and hepatitis B (26 states). Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is not required for school entry but is required in 49 states for attendance in day care facilities.

Isolated cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE/mad cow disease) have been reported in Canada and the United States. For more information, see and

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in Janu

Source: CIA World Factbook

United States's electrical current is 110/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

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The time zone for United States is -5 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in United States would be 12:00 pm

The unit of currency in United States is the US dollar (USD).

Look up the current exchange rate using's Universal Currency Converter

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