Senegal travel advice

Latest updates: Health – Travel health notice for polio added

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Risk level

SENEGAL - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Senegal due to levels of crime.

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Safety and security

Casamance and border areas

The conflict in Casamance is historically characterized by clashes between the military and rebel groups. Periods of relative calm are followed by periods of conflict fuelled by mine explosions, direct or indirect attacks, robberies and attacks on businesses or villages.

Rebel groups operate sporadically on roads (often closed at night) and in areas close to the borders with Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, as well as unexploded explosive ordnance are found in many areas (North Sindian, Niassya, South Oussouye, Niaguis).

  • Only travel overland during daytime
  • Stay on the main roads
  • Travel in a convoy when you can
  • Hire reputable carriers or tour operators

Areas close to the borders with Mauritania and Mali, where jihadist groups are active, are at risk, as they may harbour external elements due to the porosity of the borders.

Demonstrations and strikes

Strikes and demonstrations are common in larger cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Terrorism

Senegal has not suffered any recent terrorist attacks. However, in the context of the regional terrorist threat to West African countries, including Senegal, attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Hotel selection

Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, including:

  • metal detectors
  • guards
  • security cameras

Keep in mind, however, that even the most secure locations are not completely free of risk.

Dakar

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are sometimes committed by thieves on motorcycles. The Gorée pier is a favourite spot for pickpockets.

  • Remain vigilant when travelling
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid displays of affluence

Don’t walk alone. Avoid walking along the Corniche road in the evening, especially on East Corniche (Petite Corniche) and on West Corniche. Avoid also lingering along the beach at the end of the day.

Home robberies and armed robberies occur frequently. In general, assaults take place early in the morning and after dusk.

Demonstrations and strikes

Strikes and demonstrations are common in larger cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Identification

You must carry photo identification, as well as a certified copy of your passport, as authorities may conduct identity checks at any time.

Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated.

Road safety

Main roads are in good condition, but travel after dark can be difficult because of poor lighting. Most secondary roads require a four-wheel-drive vehicle, particularly in the rainy season.

Driving can also be dangerous due to:

  • the presence of pedestrians and animals on the road
  • bad driving habits
  • poorly maintained vehicles

If you are involved in a road accident, stay at the scene and don’t move your vehicle until a police officer authorizes you to do so. However, if you do not feel safe or if there is a large crowd gathering, leave the scene and report to the nearest police station in order to avoid any conflict between the parties involved. The police may keep your documents for a few days, until the file is closed. It is therefore recommended that you carry certified photocopies that will be accepted by police.

  • Avoid driving at night between cities
  • Keep doors locked and windows closed
  • Do not leave valuables in the vehicle

Taxis

Taxis are often poorly maintained and the drivers may have poor driving habits.

  • Use only officially marked taxis (yellow and black)
  • Taxis do not have a meter. Negotiate fares in advance
  • Avoid boarding a public transit vehicle if it appears to be overloaded or in poor condition

The Grand Magal of Touba

The Grand Magal of Touba is an annual pilgrimage that attracts a large number of pilgrims each year.

The next event should take place on August 22, 2024.

Before and during the pilgrimage, you can expect:

  • higher volumes of traffic
  • street closures
  • transportation delays
  • limited available accommodations

Be alert at all times if you travel to Touba during the pilgrimage.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Fraud

Cases of Internet fraud are reported. Be extremely vigilant, especially if someone:

  • sends you an electronic request for funds
  • makes you an online job offer
  • offers you a business opportunity by email

Overseas fraud

Women's safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Advice for women travellers

Swimming

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.

Water safety abroad

Wildlife viewing

Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.

  • Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
  • Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
  • Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Senegalese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Senegal.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days
Student visa: not required for stays of less than 90 days

Canadians can enter Senegal without a visa for stays of less than 90 days. A traveller arriving in Senegal without a visa who wishes to extend his or her stay will have to leave the country and re-enter afterwards or contact the Foreigner’s Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security to obtain a long-stay visa.

Canadians planning on staying in Senegal for more than 90 days must apply for a visa at the nearest Senegalese embassy or consulate. The visa allows the holder to stay in Senegal for 90 days so that steps can be taken to obtain a “carte d’identité d’étranger” (foreign national identity card) before the end of the period.

Foreign national identity card

To stay in Senegal for more than 90 days, you must obtain a foreign national identity card from the Direction de la Police des étrangers et des titres de voyage.

Direction de la police des étrangers et des titres de voyage – Ministère de l’Intérieur et de la Sécurité Publique (en français)

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs

Recommendation

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Meningococcal disease

This destination is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area which has the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the world. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. 

Travellers who are at higher risk should discuss vaccination with a health care provider. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.

Malaria is a risk to travellers to this destination.
 
Antimalarial medication is recommended for most travellers to this destination and should be taken as recommended. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 

  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
  • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 

 If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Polio

Polio (poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) is present in this country.
Polio is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Infection with the polio virus can cause paralysis and death in individuals of any age who are not immune.

Recommendations:

  • Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Schistosomiasis

There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and rural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.

Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are adequate in the capital, Dakar, but are limited elsewhere. Medical evacuation is often very expensive and may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Photography

It is prohibited to photograph government buildings, airports or other official facilities.

Senegal River

It is illegal and dangerous to cross the Senegal River by private pirogue.

Child sex tourism

Canadians travelling to Senegal for the express purpose of having sex with children or prostitutes should know that such activities are punishable with fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Child Sex Tourism: It’s a Crime

Pornography

Possession and importation of pornographic material is forbidden.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

The laws of Senegal prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Senegal.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dress and behaviour

To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions

Ramadan

In 2025, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around February 28.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when:

  • drinking
  • eating
  • smoking

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Senegal.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Senegal, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Senegal.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Senegal by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Senegal to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Imports

Some items are subject to strict customs regulations, including:

  • auto parts
  • computers and computer parts
  • stereo equipment
  • tape players
  • tools
  • video cameras and players

These items cannot be brought into the country without clearance by Senegalese authorities.

Driving

You must carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency in Senegal is the CFA franc (XOF).

Avoid exchanging large quantities of CFA francs for foreign currency at other than reputable exchange bureaus.

ATMs are widespread and reliable in Dakar, although withdrawal limits may be quite low.

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Natural disasters and climate

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from July to October. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides.

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor weather reports

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 17
  • medical assistance: 15
  • firefighters: 18

Consular assistance

Dakar - Embassy of Canada
Street Addresscorner of Galliéni and Amadou Cissé Dia Streets, Dakar, SenegalPostal AddressP.O. Box 3373, Dakar, SenegalTelephone+221 33 889 4749Fax+221 33 889 4740Emaildakar-consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-SenegalFacebookEmbassy of Canada to SenegalTwitter@CanEmbSenegalConsular district

Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Senegal, in Dakar, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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