South Africa Vaccinations
Operation Wallacea are not able to give official advice on inoculations. Some people are not able to have certain jabs, so blanket generalisations cannot be made. You must consult your GP, travel clinic or doctor for personal advice.
It is also worth checking the NaTHNaC web site for up to date advice. The NaTHNaC page for South Africa can be found here. The NHS also offers advice on their fit for travel website (found here for South Africa) although this maintains the assumption that you are up to date with inoculations as recommended for life in Britain. (link)
To allow sufficient time for all the necessary immunisations it is recommended that you consult your Doctor or travel clinic three months prior to departure.
We suggest that you are up-to-date with the following inoculations though:
Rabies: The general advice for South Africa is that the rabies vaccine is not necessary, you may however wish to get the vaccination as a precaution. It is highly unlikely volunteers will come into close enough contact with animals to get bitten, but there may be domestic animals in certain areas.
Malaria: There are varying recommendations to the malaria risk in South Africa due to different levels of prevalence in different areas, and seasonal changes in mosquito abundance – as the Operation Wallacea season is during the winter there aren’t typically large numbers around. However, some Opwall site locations are within the bounds of malarial risk areas (see here or here) so it is usually recommended that volunteers take prophylaxis. Always listen to the advice of your doctor.
Current NHS and NaTHNaC guidelines state that as Chloroquine resistance is widespread, their recommended chemoprophylaxis is mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone). Doxycycline has the added advantage of providing a degree of protection from tick bite fever as well. However, advice changes from time to time so again, always check with your doctor for current advice. Most malarial prophylactics require you start taking them before travel. No drug offers complete protection from contracting malaria. The only sure way of preventing diseases transmitted through insect bites (particularly mosquitoes and ticks) is to prevent being bitten. Use precautions including insect repellent; cover exposed skin, use of mosquito nets etc.
Please bear in mind that if you are taking the prophylaxis Larium, you are not allowed to dive.
Yellow Fever Certificate
While there is no Yellow Fever present in South Africa currently, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter the country for those travelling from countries with a risk of of yellow fever transmission. The current NaTHNaC list can be found here. The US, UK and Canada are not classed as having a risk of yellow fever transmission.
HIV/Aids and Hepatitis B are present in some form in each country that Operation Wallacea operates in, with HIV especially prevalent in South Africa, but there is absolutely no reason why this should present a problem for anybody on an Opwall expedition providing you always act responsibly and practice safe sex.
There is a Hepatitis B vaccine available, as with all other vaccines follow the advice given by your medical professional regarding receiving it.
The effectiveness of the contraceptive pill is compromised in the instance of sickness, diarrhea and whilst taking antibiotics so please bring alternative methods of contraception, even if you are travelling with your partner.