African 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:
Yellow Fever – whilst there is no yellow fever currently in Tanzania or Malawi you will be asked for proof that you have the vaccinations on entry to both Tanzania and Malawi.
Rabies – Rabies vaccination is recommended for all travellers to rural areas of Tanzania and Malawi. The disease is carried by dogs, bats and other mammals and although it is highly unlikely volunteers will come into close enough contact with animals to get bitten, there is always a small chance.
Malaria – Malaria is a significant risk in both Tanzania and Malawi and volunteers need to take prophylaxis. Current advice suggests that as Chloroquine resistance is widespread, the recommended chemoprophylaxis is mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) should be used. 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 Shistomiasis is caused by a blood fluke parasite released by freshwater snails. The fluke can burrow into the skin when swimming in places such as Lake Malawi or the crater lakes. However in the case of the crater lakes none of the host freshwater snail species have been found in any of the lakes and the dive site operator in Malawi used for the expedition has reported only one case in 10 years! The easiest way to be sure that this is not a problem is to take a single dose of Praziquantel after you return from the expedition. Praziquantel can be purchased in Malawi for around 1$ a dose. However, before taking Praziquantel on your return please check with your doctor.
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.