Tourism: Yellow Fever Card now Compulsory for visit to 5 East African Countries
Yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi or Sudan.
This EAC announcement means that ‘anyone without a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate will be denied entry to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi or Sudan,’ explained the EAC’s Dr. Michael J. Katende, in a digital statement, on June 10, 2019.
Tourism has a long-standing tradition in East Africa, with Kenya aspiring to triple its international tourist arrivals to 4 million by 2030, from 1.4 million in 2017.
“We continue to have our surveillance system in place, and shall continue to insist on the yellow fever certificate especially if you are coming from a country which has been known to have outbreaks.”
“With the EAC region bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with a huge forest cover and biodiversity, we need to heighten our infectious disease surveillance,” said Dr. Katende.
The DRC has been confronted with a deadly Ebola Zaire virus, poliovirus, malaria and most recently, a measles outbreak.
Vaccination certificates are routinely checked at EAC points of entry for travelers arriving from countries designated as high-risk for yellow fever transmission.
Persons who have been in-transit exceeding 12 hours through the airport of a country with a high risk of yellow fever transmission are also required to produce proof of vaccination upon arrival.
As of January 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began updating its maps indicating which countries require yellow fever vaccination.
International travelers with an exemption certificate due to medical reasons will be allowed entry but will be placed under quarantine and/or will be required to report any fever or other symptoms to health authorities.
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days, says the WHO.
During 2018, the burden of yellow fever in Africa was estimated at 84,000–170,000 severe cases and 29,000–60,000 deaths, reported the World Health Organization (WHO).
Supportive treatment in hospitals improves yellow fever survival rates, but there is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever.
Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable, says the WHO.
The CDC published a recommendation in 2015 that 1 dose of yellow fever vaccineprovides long-lasting protection and is adequate for most travelers.
Moreover, the vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of persons vaccinated.
In the USA, the Stamaril vaccine is available and has a clinical efficacy profile similar to the YF-VAX vaccine, and can be found at select locations.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides private sector vaccine prices for general information. And, financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.
International travelers can find convenient locations to schedule a pre-trip vaccination appointment by visiting Vax-Before-Travel.
By Dani Reiter