Egypt Health Care and Vaccinations
* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Those arriving in transit from such areas without a certificate will be detained at the airport until their onward flight departs.
There are no vaccinations needed to visit Egypt unless you are arriving from an infected area. Vaccinating against some diseases, such as those in the table above, are advisable as a precautionary measure. You should avoid touching stray animals as rabies is prevalent throughout the country, and take care if visiting street markets where poultry or other birds are present as many have been reported as being carriers of Avian flu. HIV and Aids is present in Egypt and you should take normal precautions to avoid exposure.
Public hospitals are open to tourists. The standard of care is good in Cairo and Alexandria, with most doctors speaking good English, but is of varying standard in other parts of the country. Health care provision and standards of hygiene is particularly lacking in remote rural areas, especially in the Western Desert oases and in the wilderness of southern Egypt.
Adequate health insurance that covers you for treatment, local hospitalisation and medical repatriation to your country of residence is strongly advised for any trip to Egypt, and its conditions for health precautions understood. If you are need of emergency assistance during your stay dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. Ensure you have access to funds should you be asked to pay for medical services, and always obtain a receipt for your insurance company. If you are referred to a medical centre or hospital seek the advice of your insurance company without delay.
Food and Drink
You should avoid uncooked vegetables and peeled fruit that may have been washed in tap water, and make sure any poultry or egg-based dishes, and any seafood or shellfish, is thoroughly cooked. Hotels and restaurants are generally safe to eat and drink in, but it is advisable to avoid street vendors.
Use only bottled water for drinking and, to be on the safe side, when brushing teeth. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. A popular scam is for unscrupulous individuals to collect used bottles from rubbish bins, refill them with tap water, attempt a reseal and sell them as genuine clean bottled water. Also, avoid unbottled beverages and ice except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled.
Immunisation against polio is advised because of the persistence of polio in Egypt. Precautions against hepatitis E should be considered. Immunisation against hepatitis B and tuberculosis is sometimes advised. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a tropical disease caused by parasites burrowing into the skin, is known to be present in the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley. You should avoid swimming and wading in their waters. Avoid touching any stagnant water as this, too, may result in bilharzia.
Avoid long exposure to the sun, which can be intense. Use plenty of high factor sun cream, wear light cotton clothing, a hat or scarf covering your head, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and sunburn. It is a good idea to pack rehydrating salts.
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