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.
Malaria 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 East Africa should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine, doxycycline, or Malarone(tm). Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities.
The 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, healthcare workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, 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.
- Yellow fever*, if you travel anywhere outside urban areas
- As needed, booster doses for tetanusdiphtheria, measles, and a onetime 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 receive the series as infants.
*YELLOW FEVER – is required for ALL persons from yellow fever endemic countries/regions. All individuals in transit for 12 hours or more and/or who leave the immediate airport vicinity in a yellow fever endemic area are required to get vaccinated. All individuals from yellow fever endemic regions traveling by way of air, marine and land are required to get vaccinated. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the United Republic of Tanzania has reinstalled HEALTH SURVEILLANCE DESKS in all borders, ports and international airports. PLEASE CARRY YOUR HEALTH CERTIFICATES WITH YOU WHEN ENTERING TANZANIA.
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.
- 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 travel to 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 prescription.)
- Protect yourself from insects by remaining in wellscreened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4hour intervals) and mosquito nets, and wearing longsleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
- 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).
- Don’t swim in fresh water, including Lake Malawi. Salt water is usually safer.
What you need to bring with you…
- Longsleeved shirts and long pants to wear while outside whenever possible, to prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria, dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis).
- Insect repellent containing DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide), in 30%–35% strength for adults and 6%–10% for children.
- Overthecounter antidiarrheal medicine to take if you have diarrhea.
- Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.
- Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
- Prescription medications: make sure you have enough to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s)