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Routine Vaccinations

Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Recommended Vaccinations

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to East Africa. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

Required Vaccinations

Diseases found in East Africa (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)

Malaria

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.

Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Your risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa, including cities. All travelers to East Africa, including infants, children, and former residents of East Africa, may be at risk for malaria. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. All travelers should take one of the following drugs:

For additional information on malaria risk and prevention, see Malaria Information for Travelers to East Africa .

Yellow Fever

A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain countries in East Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Food and Waterborne Diseases

Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout East Africa and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage ( hepatitis).

Additional information: see the Safe Food and Water page for a list of links.

Other Disease Risks

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and Rift Valley fever are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases. African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis), which is transmitted through the bite of an infected tsetse fly, can be found in distinct areas of East Africa except Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, and the island countries of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The number of cases of African sleeping sickness in travelers, primarily to East African game parks, has increased in recent years. A number of rickettsial infections also occur in this region. Wearing protective clothing and avoiding rural areas or areas of dense vegetation along streams, is the best protection. Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including Lake Malawi. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. (For more information, please see Swimming and Recreational Water Precautions.) Polio has also resurfaced in Ethiopia since 2003. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from the region) include tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B.

Other Health Risks

Injuries

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.

What You Need To Bring With You

Staying Healthy During Your Trip

Travelers should take the following precautions

To stay healthy, do...

Do not

After You Return Home

If you have visited a malaria-risk area, continue taking your antimalarial drug for 4 weeks (mefloquine or doxycycline) or seven days (atovaquone/proguanil) after leaving the risk area.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell your health care provider your travel history.

Important: This document is not a complete medical guide for travelers to this region. Consult with your doctor for specific information related to your needs and your medical history; recommendations may differ for pregnant women, young children, and persons who have chronic medical conditions.

Date: July 27, 2005
Content Source: National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine