Bilharzia does occur in many rivers of the country. It can be prevented by not swimming in rivers.


In Southern Africa, the influenza season starts in May/June and continues into August/September. If travelling during this period, the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks prior to arrival in South Africa to allow time for the immune response to develop. The vaccine does not contain live virus and is considered safe in transplant recipients and immunosuppresed travellers, but the protective effect of the vaccine is likely to be less in this group but would still reduce complications of influenza. Medication to treat influenza (oseltamivir- 'Tamiflu') is available on prescription in South Africa.



The risk for malaria increases from September and September to May is considered the malaria season. Overall control initiatives have been very successful in the malaria transmission areas. Mostly falciparum malaria is seen. The risk remains low in KwaZulu-Natal and is confined to the very far northern KZN.

There is no malaria in the Drakensberg, Hhluhlwe and Umfolozi Game Parks and St Lucia areas. The risk of malaria in the Kruger National Park will increase and malaria chemoprophylaxis needs to be considered.

Mozambique has year round malaria and the risks in southern Zambia, Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) will likewise increase.

Measures to reduce mosquito bites (the malaria mosquitoes are most active from sunset to sunrise) are essential and include application of DEET containing insect repellents to exposed areas, wearing of long pants and socks and sleeping under a mosquito net.

To view the South Africa malaria map, click here ...


Important animal species associated with rabies in Africa are dogs, cats, cattle, mongoose, bat-eared foxes, and jackals. Animal rabies is endemic in South Africa and both wild and domestic animals are important reservoirs. All mammals are susceptible to rabies and can transmit rabies virus, but dogs are the most important source of human rabies infection in Africa, as well as the yellow mongoose. Globally, dogs are the major reservoirs. Dog rabies in South Africa is most prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga Provinces.

There have been a number of successful control initiatives in the province of Kwazulu Natal. Most of the cases occur in rural areas.

There is a low risk when travelling in more rural areas and this can be further reduced by avoiding touching any animals. Post-exposure prophylaxis (both vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin) is readily available.

Yellow fever

Yellow fever

Yellow fever is an infectious vector-borne disease that is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito vector such as Aëdes aegypti. South Africa has a risk of introduction of the disease as the mosquito vector exists in the country.

The South African Department of Health would like to inform you of the amendments to the yellow fever vaccination policy for travellers coming from yellow fever risk countries.

Travellers going to or coming from Zambia, Tanzania, Eritrea, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe as well as Rwanda  will no longer be required to produce a yellow fever vaccination certificate when in South Africa as these countries have been included on the World Health Organization (WHO) list of countries with low potential for exposure to yellow fever virus.

During the 136th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting, a review of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and countries requiring yellow fever vaccination was conducted and based on the recommendations of the meeting; all travellers arriving into the country from these countries will NOT be required to produce proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever. This provision is with immediate effect.

In line with the International Health Regulations, 2005 South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all citizens and non citizens over one year of age:

·         Travelling from a yellow fever risk country; or

·         Having been in transit exceeding 12 hours, through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

The  International  Health  Regulations (2005)  requires  countries  at  risk  of Yellow Fever introduction to employ the following measures:

  1. Obtain vaccination certificates from travelling from areas determined by the WHO to be at risk of Yellow Fever transmission. As a result, South Africa implements the following measures for all travellers from Yellow Fever risk countries who are unable to produce a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at the point of entry:

·         Refuse entry; or

·         Place traveler under quarantine surveillance until their certificate becomes valid, or for a period of not more than six days;

·         Travellers who are in possession of an exemption certificate due to medical reasons will be:

°         Allowed entry;

°         Required to report any fever or other symptoms to the health authorities; and

°         Be placed under quarantine surveillance.

  1. Disinfection of aircraft, ships, tyre casing consignments and other modes of transportation coming from a Yellow Fever risk area.

Definition of a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate:

Vaccine should be approved by the WHO and administered at least 10 days before departure to South Africa at a Yellow Fever approved vaccination centre. The vaccine offers protection 10 days after administration and provides lifetime immunity.

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Important Notice

You are advised to visit your general practice surgery or a travel medicine clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel. However, it is never too late to seek advice.

If you have a medical condition, you are advised to discuss the suitability of the trip before you book.


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