Africa 2019-10-18T19:42:28-05:00

Traveling to AFRICA?

Preventable disease “highlights”:

Many vaccine-preventable diseases exist in Africa (see below). You are more likely to acquire Yellow Fever in a Yellow Fever risk country in Africa than elsewhere in the world (aside from instances of outbreaks on other countries). Severe Malaria (caused by mosquitoes carrying Plasmodium falciparum) is also more likely in Africa. In addition, Meningitis (a sometimes-deadly disease affecting the brain’s exterior covering) is more common in the African “Meningitis Belt” than in countries outside of Africa.

Specific Vaccinations available in the US for trips to Africa:

Cholera:

(from contaminated food or water) The vaccine is recommended for specific regions of a few African countries. Generally, it is recommended if you are visiting areas with sanitation issues, spending an extended time camping/hiking, working in healthcare-related situations, or traveling to an area with an outbreak.

Hepatitis A:

(from contaminated food or water) The vaccine is recommended for all travelers to Africa.

Hepatitis B:

(from contaminated bodily fluids or medical instruments) The vaccine is recommended for those who might be exposed to blood or other body fluids while working in healthcare-related environments or through unprotected intimate contact. The vaccine will also provide protection if you are injured and undergo treatment in a medical facility in Africa.

Meningitis:

(from contaminated respiratory fluids, including sneezing/coughing/kissing) The vaccine is recommended if you are traveling to the “Meningitis Belt” or to a country during an outbreak. It is REQUIRED for the Hajj.

Polio:

(from contaminated food or water or contact with an infected individual) The WHO maintains a list of countries where Polio booster is recommended. Often, these countries require an adult Polio booster if you are staying there for 4 weeks or more. WHO Polio Recommendations.

Rabies:

(from bites, scratches, or saliva exposure involving infected animals) The vaccine is recommended if you work with animals or are spending significant amounts of time outdoors where you may be exposed to animals. This time can include not only hiking, camping, caving, etc., but traveling through or visiting cities/town/villages with high numbers of unvaccinated animals. Children are at even higher risk for rabies than adults. Note: although there can be a risk of Rabies on a Safari (a common vacation activity in Africa), exposure is often more likely when there is contact with smaller mammals, particularly bats and dogs.

Typhoid:

(from contaminated food or water) The vaccine is recommended for all travelers to Africa.

Yellow Fever:

(from infected mosquitos) The vaccine is recommended for many countries in Africa where there is a risk of Yellow Fever. It is REQUIRED for entrance into some countries. More commonly, it is REQUIRED when traveling from a country that has Yellow Fever disease to a country that does not (for instance, traveling from Kenya to South Africa).

Malaria medication, traveler’s diarrhea treatment, altitude medication, and other prescriptions may also be indicated, depending upon your itinerary.

Country-specific vaccine recommendations for Africa can be found on the CDC Website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). We provide these vaccines during your appointment at our Travel Vaccine Clinic.

Always make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations (Adult Routine Vaccinations). Your vaccination history should be reviewed and updated by anyone you see for travel shots.

Insect avoidance, food and water precautions, avoiding direct contact with animals, and other safety measures can help protect against diseases where no vaccine or medication exists. There are many such diseases present in Africa, including Chikungunya, Dengue, Ebola, Trypanosomiasis, and others.

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