What Health Risks are there in Uganda?

Health Risks in Uganda:  Uganda is one of East Africa’s top safari destinations boasting a diversity of landscapes and wildlife, that attract thousands of tourists every year. However, most travelers to Uganda often wonder if Uganda is safe and what health risks they would expect to encounter while on Uganda safaris. Health risks in Uganda can include tropical diseases and accidents. Located in the Equatorial zone, Uganda experiences a humid tropical climate with milder temperatures in high-altitude locations.

As a result, travelers on Uganda safaris frequently worry about tropical diseases, and although there are several of them, it is often accidents that pose the most risk. Health risks in Uganda also encompass road accidents, which are common in many regions of the country. Therefore, be informed and take precautions to limit your risk by following the traffic rules and regulations.

Nonetheless, typical health difficulties encountered by Uganda tourists are expected and readily avoided. Multiple researches, immunizations, and protection may be necessary, therefore seek a qualified health specialist for health advice before traveling to Uganda. Let us discuss some of the several health risks that residents and travelers should be aware of when planning to travel to Uganda;

Health Risks in Uganda

Health Risks in Uganda

Malaria

Malaria is one of the common health risks in Uganda for travelers. Given its tropical topography, Uganda has a high prevalence of malaria, especially in rural areas and during the rainy seasons (March to May and October to November). Mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite are mostly active at night.

Travelers to Uganda are often advised to take preventive measures such as carrying anti-malarial medication as prescribed by the healthcare professional, using insect repellent (containing DEET), and sleeping under mosquito nets (preferably treated with insecticide). Should you contract malaria while on your safari, ensure to consult your doctor about the malaria treatment you should take.

Typhoid Fever

Health risks in Uganda include typhoid fever, a bacterial infection contracted from contaminated food and water. If you are traveling to Uganda, a typhoid vaccination is often recommended. Oral vaccines are for people who are 6 years and older, taken as four pills every other day, at least a week before travel. On the other hand, injectable vaccines are for those who are 2 years and older, given at least 2 weeks before your trip.

However, the vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, therefore it is safe to practice safe eating and drinking habits. For instance, travelers should drink bottled or boiled water, avoid ice in drinks, and eat hot, well-cooked foods from reputable establishments. Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers is also important.

Hepatitis A and B

Both hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated food and water) and hepatitis B (transmitted through blood and bodily fluids) are present health risks in Uganda. All travelers to Uganda are recommended to get vaccinated, especially for long-term travelers or those who may have close contact with local populations. 

Combination vaccines such as Twinrix®, which includes both Hepatitis A and B components, are available. However, for individuals aged 16 and older, two doses given at least seven days apart are necessary for the Hepatitis A component to be effective, while three doses are required for Hepatitis B. It’s important to follow these vaccination schedules to ensure maximum effectiveness against both viruses.

Health Risks in Uganda

Yellow Fever

Health risks in Uganda include yellow fever, as Uganda is a yellow fever-endemic country. All travelers entering Uganda must show proof of yellow fever vaccination. The yellow fever virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and can cause severe illness. Travelers are required to take the vaccine at least 10 days before travel to ensure effectiveness. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccination for all travelers over nine months old visiting Uganda. However, immigration authorities in Uganda require proof of vaccination for individuals over one year old. If vaccination is contraindicated for you, obtain an exemption certificate from your general practitioner (GP) or a travel clinic to avoid delays at entry points.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks can occur in Uganda, especially during the rainy season or in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. However, cholera is not as threatening as it used to be in the previous years, there is very little to no cholera in the country. Regardless, travelers ought to take preventive measures by drinking only bottled or boiled water, avoiding raw or undercooked foods, and maintaining good hand hygiene.

Rabies

Health risks in Uganda include rabies, which is present in domestic and wild animals and can spread through bites or scratches from infected animals such as bats, cats, monkeys, and dogs. Getting a rabies vaccination is recommended for all travelers to Uganda, especially if you’re going to remote areas or will be working with animals. Consider a pre-exposure rabies vaccination, given in three shots before travel. But even with vaccination, it is crucial to seek immediate medical help if you’re bitten or scratched by an animal.

Schistosomiasis

Health risks in Uganda include schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection acquired through contact with freshwater contaminated with certain snails carrying the parasite. Travelers to Uganda can ensure to stay safe from this by avoiding swimming, wading, or bathing in freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, and ponds unless they are known to be safe or properly treated.

Tuberculosis (TB)

Health risks in Uganda also include tuberculosis (TB), with relatively high rates in the country. However, the likelihood of contracting tuberculosis on a Uganda safari is relatively low. Nonetheless, individuals expecting extended exposure to TB-prone settings like hospitals and homeless shelters, or those planning long stays in endemic areas, should undergo either a 2-step tuberculin skin test (TST) or a single interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) before their travel. Otherwise, travelers are advised to avoid close contact with individuals showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as persistent coughing and seek medical evaluation if they develop similar symptoms after the safari.

Health Risks in Uganda

Measles

Measles is a worldwide health risk and travelers are in danger of contracting measles if they have not been completely vaccinated at least two weeks before their safari, have never had measles, or travel overseas to places where measles is widespread. According to the CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for foreign travel, all overseas travelers should receive a complete dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for babies aged 6 to 11 months.

 

Other health risks in Uganda include COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, skin infections, and food poisoning, to name a few. Besides acquiring the respective vaccines and medications, travelers should have comprehensive travel health insurance that covers medical emergencies and evacuation if needed. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist several weeks before travel to allow time for necessary vaccinations, medications, and health advice.

Share

Is Uganda Suitable for a Family Safari?

What Souvenirs Can I Buy on a Uganda Safari?

What is a Uganda Safari Like in the Rainy Season?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *