African Great Rift Valley Vaccinations - Operation Wallacea

Expedition Information

African Great Rift Valley 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.

In many countries there are government or private health advisory websites that are worth checking. In the UK for example, it is worth checking the NaTHNaC web site – see http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country-information/ so you can search for the country to which you are travelling. 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:

Tetanus
Typhoid
Hepatitis A

Rabies – Although rabies is present in the mammal population in both Tanzania and Malawi, you will not be directly handling bats or other mammals, and are in close proximity to medical care where the post-exposure rabies vaccines can be obtained. As such we do not recommend that all participants get the rabies vaccinations prior to coming out.

Yellow fever – This is not currently recommended for the areas in which we work and as such this is not a compulsory vaccination.

Malaria – Malaria is a significant risk in both Tanzania and Malawi and volunteers need to take prophylaxis. Current advice suggests that the recommended chemoprophylaxis is doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone). 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 mefloquine (Larium), you are not allowed to dive.

Bilharzia – Bilharzia or Schistomiasis is caused by a blood fluke parasite released by freshwater snails. The fluke can burrow into the skin when swimming in fresh water. However in the case of the crater lakes none of the host freshwater snail species have been found in the lakes we visit, and there have not been any cases of schistosomiasis reported from the area that we are based in Malawi. Fortunately a single dose of Praziquantel (which can be bought over the counter in Malawi or obtained from your health professional at home) can kill the relevant parasites. We advise all volunteers to be vigilant after returning from the expedition and to seek medical advice if they develop any cold/flu-like symptoms.

HIV/Aids and Hepatitis B – Both HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B are widespread in Tanzania and Malawi. Avoiding any sexual contact is the best method of ensuring these diseases are not contracted, although there is also a Hepatitis B vaccine available. The effectiveness of the contraceptive pill is compromised in the instance of sickness, diarrhoea and whilst taking antibiotics.