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.

Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements in South Africa - Current November 2020

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.

Updated 12 April 2017

Yellow Fever FAQ

Yellow fever is a vector-borne acute viral haemorrhagic disease caused by an infection with the…

South Africa Reviews Yellow Fever Requirements

Travellers from Zambia; Tanzania; Eritrea; Somalia; Sao Tome and Principe will no longer be required to produce proof of the yellow fever certificate when coming to South Africa after they were included on the World Health Organization Low - risk yellow fever countries list.

Yellow Fever Risk Areas

Yellow fever is a viral disease, found in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas. It principally affects humans and monkeys, and is transmitted via the bite of Aëdes mosquitoes. It can produce devastating outbreaks, which can be prevented and controlled by mass vaccination campaigns.

Updated: 18 May 2017

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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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