Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa encompasses the majority of the continent and includes a variety of eco-systems ranging from desert in the north and south west to savannas to rainforest around the equator to Southern Africa’s ‘Mediterranean’ coast. Many nations in Sub-Saharan Africa are developing, and so it’s important to have a travel health appointment before you visit.

What vaccinations do I require for Sub-Saharan Africa?

Travellers to Sub-Saharan Africa risk exposure to a number of unpleasant and dangerous diseases. Meningococcal meningitis, for example, is a potentially fatal disease spread by respiratory droplets. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, and South Sudan are all or part of the Sub-Saharan African meningitis belt.

At your travel health appointment before your trip to Sub-Saharan Africa you can get advice on reducing your risk of exposure to meningococcal meningitis, hepatitis A, malaria and yellow fever, as well as travel vaccines that will maximise your protection.

How can I protect myself in Sub-Saharan Africa from food and water-borne illnesses?

The hepatitis A vaccination offers a good degree of protection against this virus that causes unpleasant gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms. You should also think about getting vaccinated against typhoid.

You can’t drink the tap water in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, but don’t worry: a few simple precautions will keep you from getting sick, as described in our article on water-borne diseases.

Only drink water that you know is safe. Factory-sealed bottles or water that has been treated are acceptable. Drinks with ice should be avoided because freezing does not kill disease-causing organisms. See our article on water-borne diseases for more information.

Consume only hot and fresh food. Unless you can peel it yourself, raw food should be avoided. If you are unsure about the hygiene standards, do not eat anywhere. See our article on Food-borne diseases for more information.

Is Sub-Saharan Africa a dangerous place for travellers?

Malaria can be contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria prevention is available at our clinics. Finding the right regimen and determining when to begin your course of tablets can be difficult, but the nurses at NX Healthcare have all the information you require. They will also advise on mosquito avoidance because insect and mosquito bites can cause a variety of unpleasant and dangerous illnesses.

We also recommend you keep a close eye on the advice about the regions you are visiting issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office while planning your trip.

Is a yellow fever certificate required for travel to Sub-Saharan Africa?

Yellow fever transmission is possible in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In some cases, this mosquito-borne disease can be fatal. Stamaril, a vaccine, is available and provides good immunity. Visit NHS Choices for more information on yellow fever vaccination.

Other shots recommended for Sub-Saharan Africa

Discuss your travel plans and destinations with a dedicated travel health nurse at NX Healthcare to determine whether you should get rabies and hepatitis B shots before visiting Sub-Saharan Africa.

Make a travel health appointment at one of our travel clinics at least six to eight weeks in advance, as some vaccines require multiple doses over several weeks.

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