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Travel Health » South Africa
 

South Africa : Travel Health

WARNING! This information is out-dated and likely to be inaccurate!

Researching Travel Plans

Please note that this health information about South Africa may be out-of-date. Always research the current health conditions and issues in any region you plan to visit prior to departure.

Infectious Diseases and Medical Concerns for South Africa

The following medical diseases or health concerns are more common in travel to South Africa (compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World):

More Common Diseases and Medical Concerns for South Africa

The following health concerns or diseases are more commonly found in South Africa compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World:

  • motor vehicle trauma - wear seatbelts and avoid night driving
  • tick bite fever/typhus - especially during game park visits

Less Common Diseases and Health Concerns for South Africa

The following health concerns or medical diseases are less commonly found in South Africa compared to the USA and other areas of the Western World:

Vaccinations for Travel to South Africa

The following medical vaccinations are desirable or helpful for travel to South Africa to prevent contagious diseases in South Africa:

  • hepatitis A - or immune globulin (IG)
  • hepatitis B - if risk of exposure to blood/bodily fluid or medical treatment or if your stay will be longer than 6 months then all infants and children 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants
  • rabies - if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation
  • typhoid
  • tetanus - booster dose as needed
  • diphtheria - booster as needed
  • measles - booster as needed
  • polio - one-time polio vaccine for adults

Preventions or Health Precautions for Travel to South Africa

Any health risk of travel to South Africa may be reduced by the following precautionary health measures when visiting South Africa:

  • Take your malaria prevention medication before/during/after travel as directed
  • high rate of motor vehicle trauma - avoid night driving and wear seatbelts
  • mosquito bite prevention
  • insect bite protection
  • avoid drinking non-treated water - only drink bottled or canned water
  • eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself
  • keep feet clean and dry - help prevent parasitic infections
  • do not go barefoot - help prevent parasitic infections
  • always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized
  • don't eat food purchased from street vendors
  • don't drink beverages with ice
  • don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized
  • don't share needles with anyone
  • don't handle animals (especially monkeys/dogs/cats) - to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague - risk for travelers is small)
  • don't swim in fresh water. Salt water is usually safer
  • avoid crowded public places and public transportation whenever possible
  • beware of wild animals

Other Relevant Issues for Travel to South Africa

The following may be issues relevant to travel to South Africa:

  • medical care is substandard except in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban where facilities are comparable to industrialised countries
 

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