Hepatitis B is a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, with at least 65 million carriers. It is a highly endemic area, with a seroprevalence of > 8%. South Africa has pockets of high and intermediate endemicity. Vaccination against Hepatitis B was introduced into the expanded programme of immunisation in South Africa in 1995 which has resulted in a reduction in the number of Hepatitis B carriers. Prior to introducing the vaccine in the Exapnded Programme of Immunisation, chronic carriage rate varied from 15.5% in rural areas to 1.3% in some urban areas. These numbers have decreased since the introduction of the vaccine.
Whether or not vaccination is required will depend on the traveller's country of origin, possible previous exposure to the virus and activities that are undertaken whilst in South Africa. Seek advice from your health care provider.
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.