Prevention of Yellow Fever in South Africa
The South African Department of Health reviewed its yellow fever vaccination requirements policy, which will be effective from 1 October 2011.
Yellow fever is an infectious vector-borne disease that is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito vector such as Aëdes aegypti.
South Africa therefore has a risk of introduction of the disease as the mosquito vector exists in the country. As a result travellers from countries with a low risk of yellow fever transmission still pose a risk of yellow fever importation into South Africa.
As of 1 October 2011, all travellers from and to Zambia, in addition to the list of yellow fever risk countries below, will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination (unless in possession of a valid waiver certificate).
South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all citizens and non-citizens over one year of age:
- travelling from a yellow fever risk country (including low risk countries such as Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia); or
- having been in transit through a yellow fever risk country.
The above requirements are in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR,2005). The IHR requires countries at risk of yellow fever introduction to employ the following measures:
- To obtain vaccination certificates from individuals travelling from areas determined by the WHO to be at risk of yellow fever transmission. As a result, South Africa will exercise the following measures for all travellers from yellow fever risk countries, who are unable to produce a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at the port of entry:
- refuse entry; or
- quarantine until their certificate becomes valid, for a period of not more than six days; or
- those with an exemption certificate due to medical reasons will be:
- allowed entry;
- required to report any fever or other symptoms to the health authorities
- placed under surveillance.
Definition of a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate: the vaccination should be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and administered at a Yellow fever-approved vaccination centre at least 10 days before departure to South Africa. The vaccine offers protection 10 days after administration. If the vaccination is administered less than 10 days before departure, the above-mentioned measures will be applied.
- Disinfection of aircraft, ships, tyre casing consignments and other modes of transportation coming from yellow fever risk countries.
List of countries for which a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into South Africa:
Central African Republic
of the Congo
Sao Tome and
Trinidad and Tobago
United Republic of Tanzania
For more information: http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/yellowfever-f.html