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Africa - travel vaccination advice

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Vaccination against various diseases is recommended when travelling to most African countries. The vaccines depend on the destination, type of accommodation, sanitary conditions, length of stay and general health of the traveller.

Vaccination against various diseases is recommended when travelling to most African countries. The vaccines depend on the destination, type of accommodation, sanitary conditions, length of stay and general health of the traveller.


Malaria precautions are essential in almost all African countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. In addition, antimalarial tablets are recommended when travelling to most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

For information about yellow-fever vaccination requirements, see WHOs overview:

People who are unsure whether they have had the MMR vaccine or had the diseases measles, mumps or rubella (German measles) should have the vaccine.

The meningococcal vaccine ACWY is recommended for travellers to the "meningitis belt" in Africa that stretches across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia. Other vaccines than those mentioned in the table should be assessed individually. Africa is not declared polio-free. 

International travel types are divided into two main groups

Table 1. International travel types are divided into two main groups

GROUP I   

Business and tourist travel to cities and tourist resorts, staying in standard tourist-class hotels with good food hygiene and adequate sanitary conditions. 

GROUP II

Long-term foreign travel or residence in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation, and / or close and prolonged contact with locals (such as work, back-packing trips, immigrants on a visit to their former homeland).  

( ): Parentheses around the abbreviation means that the proposed prevention should be considered individually depending on the trip type and local geographic and seasonal variations in disease prevalence. In addition, the traveller's health, age and previous immunisation status should be considered.

Abbreviations for travel vaccines

  • dTP-IPV: Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • IPV: Poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hep A: Hepatitis A vaccine
  • Hep B: Hepatitis B vaccine
  • MenACWY: Meningococcal vaccine against serotypes A,C,W and Y
  • Rab: Rabies vaccine
  • Typh: Typhoid vaccine
  • Y: Yellow fever vaccine
  • BCG: Tuberculosis vaccine

 

Table 2. Recommended vaccines
DESTINATION GROUP I GROUP II
Seychelles

dTP-IPV * 

dTP-IPV * 
(Hep A)
(Typh)

Ascension Islands, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha

dTP-IPV *

dTP-IPV *
(Hep B)

Mauritius, Réunion

dTP-IPV *

dTP-IPV *
(Hep A) 
(Hep B)

Cape Verde

dTP-IPV *
Hep A

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Typh
(Hep B)
(BCG)

Comoros, Egypt, Tunisia

dTP-IPV *
Hep A

dTP-IPV *
Hep A 
Typh 
(Hep B) 
(Rab)

Algeria, Botswana, Djibouti, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland (Eswatini), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

dTP-IPV *            
Hep A

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Typh
(Hep B)
(BCG)
(Rab)

Eritrea dTP-IPV *
Hep A

dTP-IPV *
Hep A 
Typh 
MenACWY
(HepB)
(BCG) 
(Rab)  

Angola, Burundi, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Liberia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe 

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Y  

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Typh
Y
(Hep B)
(BCG)
(Rab)  

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Democratic Republic), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Y

dTP-IPV *
Hep A
Typh
Y
MenACWY
(Hep B)
(BCG)
(Rab)


Nigeria

 

dTP-IPV *
IPV**
Hep A
Y  

dTP-IPV *
IPV**
Hep A
Typh
MenACWY
Y
(Hep B)
(BCG)
(Rab)

*) Everybody should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis. Adults who have had the basic vaccinations should have a booster dose against these diseases every 10 years.

**) Polio vaccination for stays in countries with polio outbreaks 

WHO requires that anyone staying in a country for over 4 weeks in countries with an ongoing outbreak should have the polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before leaving the country. This must be documented with an international vaccine certificate. This applies for people of all ages, including children who are considered to be fully vaccinated according to the Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia, Togo and Zambia have, or have recently had, outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio virus. It is recommended, but not required, to have had the polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before leaving these countries if you have stayed there for at least 4 weeks. 

Please note that Kenya is also considered by WHO to be a country that is vulnerable to polio outbreaks. It is also important that travellers to Kenya are also protected against poliomyelitis. 

Source for travel vaccination advice given by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health