With breathtaking scenery and an abundance of magnificent wildlife, Kenya is the perfect destination for a safari holiday or beach break.
Tourism in the country has grown steadily over since the turn of the 21st century and now attracts well over 1 million tourists every year. Indeed, tourism is responsible for bringing more foreign currency into the country than any other industry at present – almost 100 billion KES.
Perhaps the most appealing destination for tourists are national parks such as the Masai Mara – part of the breathtaking Serengeti – which boasts a rich variety of wildlife.
If you are considering joining the 200,000 Brits who now visit Kenya annually, there are, however, a few precautions to ensure a safe and healthy trip. Whether it’s business travel, eco-tourism, trekking or mountain climbing, you will need to take the time to invest in the appropriate vaccinations and disease protection.
Meningococcal Meningitis – although meningococcal disease can occur anywhere in the world, epidemics occur more frequently within Africa – especially during the dry season. The disease is spread from person to person by respiratory secretions, e.g. kissing, coughing, sneezing etc.
Polio – a viral illness affecting the gastrointestinal tract and spread through infected feces from person to person. Most people in the UK will have been immunised as part of their standard booster vaccine. However, it is important to check with a health professional to make certain that you are up to date on your jabs before travelling. Good hygiene and sanitation practices can also reduce the risk of contraction.
Yellow Fever – a disease spread by mosquito bites, usually contracted in rural areas of Africa. Outbreaks do sometimes occur in urban areas, so vaccination is recommended as a precaution when travelling to Africa.
Rabies – a deadly disease found in the saliva of an infected animal, transmitted through bites, scratches and sometimes licks. Rabies needs to be treated immediately after infection to stop it becoming fatal, although this treatment often isn’t available when travelling to remote areas, so a vaccination should be taken before travelling instead.
Diphtheria and Tetanus – these vaccines are usually administered as part of your standard booster vaccine along with polio. Do always check with your doctor that you’re up to date with your vaccinations, as it is recommended that diphtheria and tetanus are re-administered every 10 years.
Typhoid – a bacterial infection spread mainly through contaminated food and drink in poorly sanitised areas. Typhoid is extremely contagious and vaccination when travelling to Africa is recommended.
Cholera – spread by drinking water and water used to prepare food in poorly sanitised areas, although Cholera isn’t usually considered to be a huge risk to travellers in Africa. Proper hygiene practices should be enough to stay healthy, however a vaccination against the disease is available.
Hepatitis A – spread through person to person through fecal matter or from contaminated food or water, Hepatitis A is a viral infection affecting the liver. There is a higher risk of contraction in developing countries and a vaccination is advised before travel to Kenya.
Hepatitis B – a liver disease spread through infected blood e.g. needles, surgical equipment, sexual intercourse etc. There is a higher risk of coming into contact with Hepatitis B in certain areas of the world, Kenya being on of them. Vaccination is available to prevent infection.
Malaria – Malaria is present throughout Kenya all year round, and adequate measures to protect yourself from contraction is vital. Although there is no vaccination against malaria, there are various anti-malarial medications you can take to protect yourself.
Malarone – tablets are taken once per day starting 2 days before your trip and stopping 1 week after the trip. Malarone is known for having far fewer side effects than some other anti malaria drugs.
Doxycycline – tablets are taken daily with treatment starting 2 days before trip and continuing for 4 weeks after. This medication can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight, so this should be considered when choosing a treatment.