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. (See below.)
It's 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). Most travelers to malaria risk areas in this region should take mefloquine to prevent malaria. You can be infected with malaria in all areas of this region except the cities of Addis Ababa, Ismara, and Nairobi, the islands of Reunion and Seychelles, and in highland areas above 2,500 meters.
A certificate of yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain of these countries.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Rift Valley fever are carried by insects that occur in this region but are very rare. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases. These are not fatal however and rarely occur.
Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid night time travel if possible and always use seat belts.
Center for Disease Control
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, health-care workers), have sexual contact with an infected person.
As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time 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.
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. To make water safer by BOTH filtering through an "absolute 1-micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1-micron filter" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
Well Cooked Food - Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
Prior Prescriptions - 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.)
Mosquito Nets - Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4-hour intervals) and permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets.
HIV, AIDS and Sex - Always use latex condoms during intercourse to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
To Avoid Getting Sick:
Don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Don't share needles with anyone.
Handle animals with care (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats), to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague).
What You Need To Bring with You:
Long-sleeved shirt and long pants
To wear while outside at dusk, to prevent mosquito bites (e.g., malaria).
30%-35% strength for adults and 6%-10% for children. Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin. (Bed nets can be purchased in camping or military supply stores.)
Iodine tablets and water filters - Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.
Sunblock, sunglasses, hat - To prevent one from suffering sun-burns and in some cases cramped skin.
Prescription medications - Make sure you have a copy of the prescription(s).