World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Eritrea

Eritrea Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Malaria Yes
Typhoid Yes
Rabies Sometimes
Yellow Fever No*
Diphtheria Yes
Hepatitis A Yes
Tetanus Yes

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving within six days from infected areas.

Health Care

It is possible that some travellers will feel the effects of Asmara’s high altitude and low oxygen levels. Some visitors might therefore give some time to acclimatising to the conditions. Those who suffer from heart ailments or high blood pressure should consult a doctor before travelling. Medical services are limited throughout the country; modern facilities are not always available and supplies can be irregular. Visitors should bring a supply of any necessary drugs and prescriptions. Chemists can be found in larger towns. The country has an extensive network of health workers. Regional and district clinics and the central hospital in Asmara deal with emergencies. Comprehensive health insurance is strongly advised.

Food and Drink

Eritrea has many natural springs that produce excellent drinking water. Carbonated and non-carbonated bottled drinking water is now widely available in the major towns and cities. Tap water is ok for brushing teeth but should not be used for drinking or making ice. Pasteurised milk is available in Asmara. Elsewhere it is likely to be unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available in Asmara. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Other Risks

Eritrea has no permanent rivers, but Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) can be found in freshwater pools and reservoirs. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Dengue fever and Rift Valley fever are present. Hepatitis E is widespread and hepatitis B is hyperendemic. Meningococcal meningitis is a risk, particularly in savannah areas and during the dry season. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

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