Vaccinations For South Africa - Which Vaccines Do I Need?
Whether you’re after culture, luxury, nature or adventure - South Africa has it all. The country’s diverse wildlife and natural beauty draw in tourists from all over the world.
Before you go on safari in the Kruger National Park or shopping in Johannesburg, you need to make sure you have all the medications and vaccinations you need. Our experienced travel nurses are happy to help you assess your needs to keep you healthy and happy during your South African adventure!
Malaria in South Africa
South Africa is a risk country for malaria. There is a risk of infection all year round but the risk is particularly high from September to May. You are unlikely to contract malaria in areas of high altitude but you need to take precautions if travelling through Mpumalanga Province (including Kruger National Park) and Limpopo Province.
If you are travelling to a risk area you need to take antimalarial tablets in addition to using insect repellent and avoiding mosquito bites. Travellers who are planning to stay in remote areas without access to local medical facilities may be advised to also take a malaria treatment for acute bouts of the disease with them, in case the preventative treatment fails.
|Malaria Tablets||Various||From £25|
Hepatitis AThe hepatitis A vaccine is important for all travellers visiting South Africa. Although the disease can pass without causing symptoms it can also cause jaundice and liver damage. The exact scale of hepatitis A infections in South Africa is unknown. According to recent studies, however, the majority of adults in South Africa carry hep A antibodies, which means that they have been exposed to the virus at some point in the past.
Other Vaccines to Consider
CholeraCholera is a bacterial infection, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Quick treatment is essential, as the illness can be fatal if untreated. Despite efforts to reduce the incidence of cholera in South Africa by introducing vaccinations and improving public awareness of the infection, outbreaks may still occur. The last major cholera outbreak in South Africa in 2000 led to 86107 reported cases and claimed 181 lives. Whether you require the cholera vaccination depends on where you are travelling - the risk of food- and waterborne diseases is higher in areas with a poor sanitation system.
DiphtheriaIf you have grown up in the UK, you have most likely received a diphtheria vaccine as a part of your routine childhood vaccinations. Before you go abroad you should check whether you require a booster to avoid medical emergencies.
Hepatitis BHepatitis B is very common in South Africa, with an estimated 10 - 18% of adults in South Africa suffering from the disease. The infection is particularly widespread in the Eastern Cape Province and Kwazulu-Natal. The hep B virus is transmitted during sexual intercourse and when sharing needles. Although transmitted in a similar way as the HIV virus, it is far more contagious and passed on more easily. The vaccine is recommended for healthcare professionals and aid workers as well as everyone who is likely to engage in close contact with the local population. Be careful with getting tattoos or piercings abroad to avoid exposure to the virus. Your local travel nurse can help you decide whether you require the vaccination.
RabiesEvery year, there are 10 to 30 reported cases of rabies in humans in South Africa, primarily in the north-eastern regions of the East Cape. In most cases, the disease is transmitted by dogs. The rabies vaccine is important for anyone likely to come in close contact with wildlife or domestic animals while abroad. It may also be necessary if you are planning to travel to remote areas where medical help is not readily available. The rabies vaccine extends the period of time during which the post exposure rabies treatment is effective - you still need to get treated if you get bitten. Once the infection has broken out, it is almost always fatal.
TetanusTetanus is a bacterial infection which usually occurs following an injury such as a cut, wound or a graze. The tetanus vaccination is included in the standard vaccine schedule and it is routinely given to children in the UK. Before you travel you should check whether you need a booster to maintain immunity.
TyphoidTyphoid is a food- and waterborne infection which primarily occurs in areas with a poor sanitation system and low levels of awareness with regards to hygiene. It usually causes symptoms such as diarrhoea or constipation as well as stomach pain and a high fever. Patients usually respond well to antibiotic treatment if treated soon after experiencing the first symptoms. If left untreated, typhoid can be fatal. You should consider getting vaccinated if you will be spending time in remote areas with a poor infrastructure and limited access to medical care.
Yellow Fever Certificate