Traveling to Kenya: Check out your Vaccines

    Journalist Mary Mwendwa has her dance with the cheeters while on local Safari tourism in Kenya

    AS YOU prepare for the great wildebeeste migration to dancing with the leopards, lions, giraffes and elephants through the great big cat safari Kenya travels, a swim with crocodiles, hippos, Nile Perch and Tilapia down lake Victoria’s world’s second largest fresh water Lake, here are just a few house cleaning tips to make your travel preparations smooth and risk free.

    YOU DO NOT need an ebola vaccine to travel to Kenya.

    There are both compulsory for entry and strongly recommended vaccinations for Kenya. All travelers are required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in order to gain entry to Kenya. Furthermore, for most short-term travelers the usual recommended vaccinations for Kenya include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Poliomyelitis) as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases of Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

    Some vaccines are recommended or required for Kenya. The PHAC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Kenya: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza

    The yellow fever is spread through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and is: Required if traveling from a region with yellow fever. Recommended for all travelers over 9 months of age, except if travelling to: North Eastern and Coast Province; Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Malindi states; and the cities of Mombasa and Nairobi.

    Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance. Find the clinic nearest you.

    Should you contract Yellow Fever while in Kenya, vaccination is available at Passport Health locations throughout the country.

    Initial symptoms of yellow fever include a sudden onset of fever, chills severe headache, back pain, general body headaches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Most people improve after these initial symptoms

    Traveling to Kenya and meeting Lion, King of The Jungle is an exciting, memorable experience

    Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Kenya. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

    Cholera: CDC recommends this vaccine for adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission. Areas of active cholera transmission include the counties of Busia (last case reported February 2018), Elgeyo-Marakwet (last case reported June 2018), Embu (last case reported October 2018), Garissa (last case reported August 2018), Istolo (last case reported October 2018), Kiambu (last case reported June 2018), Kilifi (last case reported July 2018), Kirinyaga (last case reported January 2018), Kwale (last case reported January 2018), Machakos (last case reported June 2018), Meru (last case reported July 2018), Mombasa (last case reported August 2018), Nairobi (last case reported June 2018), Nakuru (last case reported April 2018), Siaya (last case reported March 2018), Tana River (last case reported July 2018), Tharaka Nithi (last case reported June 2018), Turkana (last case reported October 2018), Trans Nzoia (last case reported April 2018), Wajir (last case reported January 2018), and West Pokot (last case reported June 2018) of Kenya (see map). Cholera is rare in travelers but can be severe. Certain factors may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease (more information). Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also prevent cholera.

    Hepatitis B: You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

    Mombasa, the beautiful thriving oceanic city along the Kenyan coast. Photo by Naomi’s Travels.

    Meningitis: CDC recommends this vaccine if you plan to visit parts of Kenya located in the meningitis belt during the dry season (December–June), when the disease is most common.

    Polio: You may need a polio vaccine before your trip to Kenya, especially if you are working in a health care facility, refugee camp, or humanitarian aid setting. This kind of work might put you in contact with someone with polio.

    • If you were vaccinated against polio as a child but have never had a polio booster dose as an adult, you should get this booster dose. Adults need only one polio booster in their lives.
    • If you were not completely vaccinated as a child or do not know your vaccination status, talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated.

    Malaria Vaccine: Researchers have demonstrated in a clinical trial that a new vaccine for malaria has been up to 100 percent effective when assessed at 10 weeks after last dose of vaccine. Consult your doctor before travel.

    Usually the symptoms of malaria appear only after eight to tens days of being bitten by the mosquito. Depending on the type and extend of malaria, a bout of malaria can last from one week to as long as one year. Malaria is a disease that has to be treated under proper medical supervision.

    Note: Zika is a risk in Kenya. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women should not travel to Kenya. Partners of pregnant women and couples planning pregnancy should know the possible risks to pregnancy and take preventive steps (more information).

    Photos: courtesy Mary Mwendwa