Vaccination and Travel Information for Congo (Kinshasa)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No 1 Fitzwilliam street upper dublin 2 ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2



Climate: Varies according to distance from the Equator, which lies across the north of the country. The dry season in the north is from December to March, and in the south May to October. The annual temperatures are warm ( 20 º - 30 º Celsius ) and humidity is high.
Capital City: Kinshasa
Altitude: 200 metres
Main Cities: Kananga, Lubumbashi
Population: 42,476,000
Land Area (sq km): 2,345,410
Currency: 1 zaïre = 100 makuta
Languages: French, Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili and Sudanic tribal languages
Religions: Roman Catholic, Sunni Muslim, Animist, Protestant
Economy: Food crops, coffee, Copper, Diamonds
 



The D2 Medical Centre advises all travellers to be 'up-to-date' for:

CHOLERA Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
DIPHTHERIA We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

HEPATITIS 'A' This is the most vaccine preventable disease for travellers. Strongly recommended but not compulsory for travel to this area.

HEPATITIS 'B' Immunisation is strongly recommended for travellers who will be in the area for 1 month or more.
Transmission of Hepatitis B is through sex or contact with contaminated blood, needles and syringes.


MENINGO-COCCAL MENINGITIS Immunisation is recommended.

POLIO Adults who are travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are occurring, or where the contracting the disease is possible, and who have received a primary series with either IPV or OPV should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.


RABIES Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be in rural or remote areas for 1 month or more at a time.

TUBERCULOSIS (TB) Immunisation is not compulsory, and is not recommended for adults.
Children should be immunised at any age.
A skin test is available if immune status is in doubt

TETANUS We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is strongly recommended.


YELLOW FEVER A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age ( see * below ).


* World Health Organization:
The following countries and areas are regarded as Yellow Fever infected areas:

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan (south of 15°N), Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.
America: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.




Malaria risk—predominantly due to P. falciparum—exists throughout the year in the whole country. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine reported.

 

Warnings:

  • All travellers are advised to ask their health professional about the side-effects of the various medications, as problems may occur with balance/fine skills, heart disease, blood pressure pills, epilepsy, mental illness and pregnancy.
  • Not all medications are suitable for everybody, neither are any of the recommended medications 100%effective. Other mosquito preventative measures are recommended in association with any recommended medication (see below).

 

Self Treatment Regimes:

  • Travellers who develop fever should seek immediate medical help. If Malaria is confirmed then self-treatment regimes are available. Travellers may wish to discuss these with their health professional BEFORE they travel. They are best used in association with a firm diagnosis of malaria (which may be done either by a laboratory of with the aid of a ‘rapid diagnostic kit’).

 

General Advice on Mosquito Prevention.
Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite, so recommend all travellers to the country to:

  • cover exposed skin after dusk when they are at most risk for getting bitten
  • use insect repellent with DEET in it.
  • return before dusk from country areas where malarial mosquitoes are the most active
  • sleep in screened room or use a bed net, remembering to tuck in the edges & spray inside.
  • sleep in air conditioned rooms or rooms with fans. Vapour pads and smoke coils also help. Insect buzzers are useless.




GENERAL
In Congo-Kinshasa, medical facilities are limited, and medicine and medical supplies are in short supply. Cholera outbreaks occur regularly. Drinking water should be boiled and filtered or bought in sealed brand bottles. Malaria is high risk. There is a high prevalence of AIDS/HIV. We strongly recommend that all travellers abroad take out adequate comprehensive insurance, including repatriation insurance.

Travellers are strongly urged to consult with their medical insurance company prior to travelling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies in this region, and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

HEALTH, ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE
Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travellers under the age of 55. Most are caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; and to a lesser degree, drowning, aircraft crashes, murders, and burns.

Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travellers, but infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travellers. Generally, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.

Travellers are advised to obtain, before departure, travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should include a medical evacuation benefit. Check for any exclusions that are part of the policy, and keep in mind that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusion clauses.  The D2 medical recommends that the policy also provide 24-hour access to an assistance centre that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care, and determine if air ambulance services are required.


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