Immunizations Needed to Travel to Africa

Immunizations Needed to Travel to Africa
It is recommended that all visitors to Africa receive a host of vaccinations before visiting the continent. Yellow Fever is the only vaccine most African countries require a traveler have before entering the country. While not required by law, it is also advised that a traveler be up to date on all his routine shots, as well as be vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies. All of the suggested vaccines should be received at least one month prior to departing for Africa.

Yellow Fever

Travelers vaccinated in the United States receive a yellow International Certificate of Vaccination approved by the World Health Organizations that serves as proof of vaccination for yellow fever.


Routine Vaccinations

It is advised that travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio. A traveler should receive any necessary booster shots at least a month before leaving the country.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for people traveling to countries with a intermediate or high level of infection. Exposure to the virus typically occurs through food or water, and has been known to be contracted by travelers with access to good accommodations and reliable sources of food and water.

Hepatitis B

Vaccination is advised for those traveling in countries with moderate to high levels of infection. It is especially important for those who are likely to be exposed to blood or body fluids, engage in sexual contact with locals or may receive medical treatment.


Exposure to typhoid most often occurs through contaminated food or water. Travelers who will be spending time in smaller towns, villages and rural areas should make a point of being vaccinated because they are more likely to encounter unclean food and water.


This vaccine is recommended for people spending a great deal of time outdoors and in rural areas. Anyone who might be exposed as a result of their occupation such as veterinarians should be vaccinated, as well as those who will have direct contact with bats, carnivores and other mammals. Children are considered to be at higher risk because they tend to interact more with animals and sustain more severe bites.


There is no vaccination for malaria, however, anyone traveling to Africa should probably be taking anti-malaria prophylactics.


Article Written By Richard Hansen

Richard Hansen grew up and currently resides in Minnesota. He graduated from Dartmouth College and has traveled extensively in Africa and South America, including the Amazon jungle. He has worked as a wilderness guide in Yellowstone and northern Minnesota, and written for Fur-Fish-Game, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine and

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