Travel to and within the continent of Africa is increasing in the 21 st century. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, tourists find themselves trekking across Africa’s jungles and open prairies at an increasing rate. Whenever people travel to another region of the world, it is important to learn what sort of diseases they could be exposed to in Africa that are not a threat at home.
Yellow fever is a frequent problem in Africa. There was a widespread outbreak of yellow fever in Uganda during the latter months of 2010, and is considered endemic across large portions of West and Central Africa. Although tourists rarely contract yellow fever, it is still a good idea to keep a few tips in mind to help prevent its occurrence.
Steps to Prevent Yellow Fever
Know the How, When, and Where
Outbreaks of yellow fever are most common in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically across the central swath of the continent. The rate of occurrence for the disease is highest following the conclusion of the rainy season, which runs from July to October annually. Yellow fever is a viral disease that is spread through mosquito bites. The abundance of water following the rainy season makes for ideal breeding conditions for mosquito, and makes controlling their populations more difficult.
The best thing that travelers can do to prevent yellow fever is to obtain a vaccination against the disease prior to departing for Africa. In the interest of public health, most of the nations in Africa have regulations and requirements for travelers entering the continent. Travelers without proof of a recent yellow fever vaccination will not be allowed to enter certain countries, especially those where the disease is currently endemic.
Pack Smart, Stay Smart
Remaining alert and aware while visiting Africa is also wise. Despite the warm temperatures, it is smart to wear long sleeves and pants when traveling to help avoid mosquito bites. Pack a strong insect repellent, preferably one that contains DEET. When it comes time to pack it in for the day, it is a good idea to sleep under a mosquito net to keep the insects at bay while sleeping.
With a little vigilance and preparation it is easy to visit the continent of Africa and avoid contracting yellow fever in the process.
Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology, works as lab tech forMybiosource.com and contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter@MaggieBiosource