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 Southern
Africa and can contaminate food or water. Infections
may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella,
and parasites), fever (typhoid
fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage
(hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water
are safe. (See
is a preventable infection that can be fatal if left
untreated. Prevent infection by taking prescription
antimalarial drugs and protecting yourself against
mosquito bites (see below).
Travelers to some areas of Botswana, Namibia, South
Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe may be at risk for
malaria; there is no malaria risk in Lesotho and St.
Helena (U.K.). For additional information on malaria
risk and prevention, see Malaria
Information for Travelers to Southern Africa.
(sleeping sickness) are other diseases carried by
insects that also occur in this region. Protecting
yourself against insect bites (see
below) will help to prevent these diseases.
a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in this
region. Do not swim in fresh water (except in
well-chlorinated swimming pools) in Southern African
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. (Please see the Making
Travel Safe page for further recommendations on
swimming and driving.)
There is no risk
for yellow fever in Southern 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.
A or immune globulin (IG).
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, or be exposed through medical treatment.
if you might be exposed to wild or domestic
animals through your work or recreation.
particularly if you are visiting developing
countries in this region.
- As needed, booster
doses for tetanus-diphtheria,
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
- Eat only
thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables
you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it,
cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- If you visit an
area where there is risk for malaria,
take your malaria
prevention medication before, during, and
after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a
yourself from mosquito bites:
mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts
and long pants.
- Use insect
repellents that contain DEET
- Apply insect
repellent to exposed skin. Mosquitoes that
transmit malaria bite between dusk and dawn.
- Unless you are
staying in air-conditioned or well-screened
housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with
the insecticide permethrin.
- For more
information on protecting yourself from insect
bites and DEET see Protection
against Mosquitoes and Other Arthropods.
- 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
- 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
- Don�t share
needles with anyone.
- Don�t handle
animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to
avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies
(For more information, please see the Animal-Associated
Hazards on the Making
Travel Safe page.)
- Don�t swim in
fresh water. Salt water is usually safer. (For
more information, please see the Swimming
Precautions on the Making
Travel Safe page.)
you need to bring with you:
- Long-sleeved shirt
and long pants to wear whenever possible while
outside to prevent illnesses carried by insects
- Insect repellent
- Bed nets
impregnated with permethrin (can be purchased in
camping or military supply stores).
antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have
- Iodine tablets and
water filters to purify water if bottled water is
not available. See Do�s
above for more detailed information about water
medications: make sure you have enough to last
during your trip, as well as a copy of the
After you return
If you have visited a
malaria-risk area, continue taking your antimalarial
drug for 4 weeks (mefloquine, doxycycline) or seven
days (Malarone�) after leaving the risk area.
Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like
illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up
to 1 year after returning home should seek prompt
medical attention and should tell the physician their
Ask your doctor or
check the CDC web sites for more information about how
to protect yourself against diseases that occur in
Southern Africa, including the following:
For more information
about these and other diseases, please check the Diseases