Southern Africa – General Health Travel Precautions

Besides malaria, there are other insect-borne diseases such as dengue and sleeping sickness. However, these are less common and using the same precautions as you would against mosquito bites, namely long-sleeved clothes and trousers, repellents and mosquito nets, will help prevent them.

In countries where drinking water isn’t properly regulated, stick to bottled or boiled water and avoid tap water, water fountains and ice cubes. Ask your travel consultant about the safety of drinking water in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Use common sense when it comes to food and beverages. If you’re unsure of their origin, don’t touch them.

If you’re walking, it’s best to wear shoes at all times.

AIDS is rife throughout Africa, so if you’re planning to have intimate contact with the locals always use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Avoid handling strange animals, especially monkeys, dogs and cats.

Avoid swimming in stagnant water.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following vaccines. See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for them to take effect:

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)

Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment

Rabies, if you come into direct contact with wild or domestic animals

Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries

Booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults, as needed

A yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required for entry into certain African countries, particularly if you are coming from a country in tropical South America or elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there is no risk for of yellow fever in Southern Africa.

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