Courses or boosters usually advised for South
Africa include diphtheria; tetanus; poliomyelitis;
hepatitis A, particularly if you intend to go out
into the bush or on safari.
Vaccines are sometimes advised for tuberculosis
or hepatitis B.
You would not normally require vaccinations for
rabies, cholera, or typhoid.
There is no Yellow fever in South Africa, but if
you are entering South Africa from a Yellow fever
endemic area you will need a doctor's certificate.
Tetanus & Poliomyelitis
Tetanus is contracted through dirty cuts and scratches
and poliomyelitis spread through contaminated food
and water. They are serious infections of the
Typhoid & Hepatitis A
These are spread through contaminated food and water.
Typhoid causes septicaemia and Hepatitis A causes
liver inflammation and jaundice. If you are going to
a high risk area and good hygiene is impossible, you
should be immunised.
This is spread through contaminated water and food.
There are periodic outbreaks of cholera in the poor
communities of rural northern
Mpumalanga, and Limpopo. Cholera is a highly
contagious disease and you are advised to maintain a
high level of personal hygiene and drink only
bottled water if travelling in these areas.
TB is most commonly transmitted via
droplet infection. The risk to you of
catching TB is not high. However, if you are
in a public area near someone with a very
bad cough, it is advisable to move away just
If you develop a bad cough several weeks
or months after visiting South Africa, you
should get a chest X-ray done by your
This is also spread by droplet infection
through close personal contact. Vaccination
is advised if close contact with locals in
risk areas is likely.
This is spread through infected blood,
contaminated needles and sexual intercourse,
It affects the liver, causes jaundice and
occasionally liver failure. Those visiting
high risk areas for long periods or at
social or occupational risk should be
Rabies is rare in South Africa, but is
present in some wild animals. It is spread through bites or licks on
broken skin from an infected animal and is
Vaccination is only advised if you are going to
high risk areas that will be
remote from a reliable source of vaccine.
Even if you are vaccinated, urgent medical advice should
sought after any animal bite.
There is no vaccination for malaria (more...)