Vaccination and Travel Information for Somalia

SOMALIA

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No1 Fitzwilliam Street Upper Dublin 2 ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: There are four seasons. The Jilal starts around January and is the harshest period, hot and very dry. Gu is the first rainy season lasting from March to June. Hagaa, during August, is a time of dry monsoon winds and dust clouds. The second rainy season is from September to December and is called Dayr.
Capital City: Mogadishu
Altitude: 20 metres above sea level
Main Cities: Berbera, Boroma, Burao Hargeisa, Kismayu
Population: 9,845,000
Land Area (sq km): 637,660
Currency: 1 Somali ( Somaliland ) shilling = 100 cents
Languages: Somali
Religions: Muslim
Economy: Some livestock and banana export. War and drought have ruined any sustainable economy
 



 The D2 Medical 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 There is current significant risk of the disease. 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 recommended.

YELLOW FEVER A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas ( 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. The risk of malaria is greater in the south, particularly along the Shabeelle and Juba River valleys. There is limited malaria risk in the city center of Mogadishu.
Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine reported.

There are five common medications for malaria prevention available in Ireland. They are: chloroquine, doxycycline, malarone, mefloquine, paludrine. To determine the appropriate antimalarial, it is advised that the traveller discuss this with a D2 Medical Travellers Health Specialist or other Travel Health Professional. None of the medicines are 100% effective against the disease at all times, and each has its own side effects. These need to be discussed with the intending traveller.

 

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.

Malaria map of Somalia

 




GENERAL
Medical facilities in Somalia are extremely limited. Travellers should carry personal supplies of medicines and medications with them. Some medicines are in short supply or locally unobtainable. For any major medical problems, including dental work, travellers should consider medical evacuation to where more advanced medical care is available.

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.


                                                                                                                                                         DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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