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Worldworx Travel Travel Health: Africa: North Africa

Health Information for Travelers to North Africa
Algeria, Canary Islands (Spain), Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco (including Western Sahara), Tunisia

NOTE: Please check the Outbreaks section for updates on these and other countries.

Map of North Africa

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers� diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region 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). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. (See below.)

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. A limited risk of malaria exists in parts of Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco. Taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended as the risk for travelers is considered to be extremely low. However, travelers should use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites (see below). For detailed information on malaria-risk areas and precautions, see Malaria Information for Travelers to North Africa.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including the Nile River. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. (For more information, please see the Swimming Precautions on the Making Travel Safe page.)

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

There is no risk for yellow fever in North Africa. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):
See your doctor at least 4�6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11�12 years who did not complete the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an �absolute 1-micron or less� filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. �Absolute 1-micron filters� are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children�s hands or around eyes and mouth.
    • For details on how to protect yourself from insects and how to use repellents, see Protection against Mosquitoes and Other Arthropods.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

To avoid getting sick...

  • 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, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). (For more information, please see the Animal-Associated Hazards on the Making Travel Safe page.)
  • Don�t swim in fresh water, including the Nile. Salt water is usually safer. (For more information, please see the Swimming Precautions on the Making Travel Safe page.)

What you need to bring with you:

  • Long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to wear while outside whenever possible, to prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria, dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis).
  • Insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Bed nets impregnated with permethrin. (Can be purchased in camping or military supply stores. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide, deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes.)
  • Flying-insect spray or mosquito coils to help clear rooms of mosquitoes. The product should contain a pyrethroid insecticide; these insecticides quickly kill flying insects, including mosquitoes.
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have diarrhea.
  • Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. See Do�s above for more detailed information about water filters.
  • Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
  • Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s).

After you return home:
Although the risk of malaria in North Africa is limited, travelers who become ill with fever or flu-like illness while traveling in North Africa and up to 1 year after returning home should seek immediate medical attention and should tell their health care provider their travel history.

For more information:
Ask your doctor or check the CDC web sites for more information about how to protect yourself against diseases that occur in North Africa, including the following:

Diseases carried by insects

Diseases carried in food or water

Diseases from person-to-person contact

For more information about these and other diseases, please check the Diseases page.
 

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Disclaimer: Worldworx is not responsible nor liable for any travel within the countries/regions mentioned within Worldworx Travel as a result of information supplied. Some countries/regions may not be considered safe to travel. Please contact your embassy/consulate and appropriate authorities for latest situations and information. For further safety information, click here.

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