Zambia

Have a safe trip with travel vaccines and advice from medical professionals.

Travel health and safety for Zambia 🇿🇲

Zambia is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the famous Victoria Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

Zambia is renowned for its abundant wildlife, offering opportunities for safaris and wildlife viewing, including elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and more. Zambia is a popular destination for adventure tourism, offering activities such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting, zip-lining, and microlight flights over Victoria Falls. The country has a rich cultural heritage, with diverse ethnic groups and traditions. Visitors can experience traditional ceremonies, music, dance, and local cuisine.

With a wealth of adventures, travelers to Zambia should be aware of health considerations such as malaria prevention, vaccinations, and safe drinking water. It is advisable to consult with a Rockdoc Travel Medicine Professional before your trip to ensure a safe, fun experience.

Travel Immunization for Zambia

What vaccines do I need for Zambia? Get all the information and vaccinations you need to minimize travel health risks.

Hepatitis A virus can cause liver disease, and in rare cases, liver failure and death.

  • Can be spread by fecal-oral transmission, consuming contaminated food or water, or close, personal contact with an infected person.
  • Symptoms may range from mild to severe, including fatigue, jaundice, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and joint pain.

Typhoid is a bacterial infection contracted through contaminated food or water

  • Symptoms include high fever, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal issues.  
  • Typhoid can lead to severe complications if not treated promptly.

Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes in certain regions of Africa and South America. 

  • Mild cases: Fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting 
  • Severe cases: High fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), bleeding, organ failure, and, in some cases, death. 

Rabies is a viral infection transmitted through animal bites.  

  • Symptoms may initially include fever, headache, and discomfort at the bite site, progressing to more severe neurological symptoms. Rabies is fatal if it is not treated before symptoms develop.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with stray animals and seek immediate medical attention if bitten or scratched by an animal. 
  • It is essential to receive appropriate medical treatment, including post-exposure prophylaxis, if exposed to rabies 
  • While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children. 

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Health Canada strongly advises travelers ensure their routine vaccinations are up to date, including:

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Guards against the varicella-zoster virus, responsible for chickenpox.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP)

Protects against three different bacterial infections.

Flu (Influenza)

Vaccination against seasonal influenza strains is essential.

Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Provides immunity against all three diseases in one shot.

Polio

Essential for guarding against the poliovirus.

Shingles

Offers protection against a viral infection that causes painful rashes.

COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic necessitates adherence to vaccination guidelines and preventive measures.

Zambia Concerns / Health Canada Recommendations

Mosquito-borne Diseases

Zambia is prone to mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus. 

Take measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as using 50% DEET insect repellents, wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and pants), and staying in accommodations with air conditioning or mosquito nets.

  • Dengue: Viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
    • Symptoms include high-grade fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, rash, and nausea/vomiting.
  • Zika virus: Viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
    • Infection during pregnancy is linked to birth defects.
    • If pregnant or planning to get pregnant, seek medical advice before traveling.
    • Symptoms include rash, itch, mild fever, headache, red eyes, muscle, and joint pains.
  • Malaria: A serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
    • Symptoms may include fever, chills, headache, similar to the flu. Without treatment, malaria can cause severe illness and death.
    • Malaria can be treated with anti-malarial medications.

Most common illness for travelers, from consuming contaminated food & water

  • Affects up to 70% of travelers and risks minimized with good hygiene and safe food/drink choices (eg. avoid raw foods, ice in drinks).
  • Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, bloating.

Hygiene Practices

Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water regularly, especially before meals and after using the restroom. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content.

Over the Counter Medications for Travel to Zambia

Pain Relief

Medications such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) can be helpful for managing headaches, muscle pain, or fever. 

Anti-Diarrheal Medications

It’s advisable to carry over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications like loperamide (e.g., Imodium) to treat mild cases of traveler’s diarrhea. However, it’s important to stay hydrated and seek medical attention if diarrhea persists or worsens. 

Antacids

Antacids like Tums or Pepto-Bismol can provide relief from indigestion or heartburn, which can sometimes occur when trying new foods or experiencing changes in diet during travel. 

Allergy Medications

If you have known allergies, carrying antihistamines like cetirizine(e.g., Reactine) or diphenhydramine (e.g., Benadryl) can help manage allergic reactions to environmental allergens or insect bites. 

Motion Sickness Medications

If you are prone to motion sickness, consider carrying medication like dimenhydrinate (e.g., Gravol) to alleviate symptoms during long journeys or when traveling by car, train, or boat.

Sun Protection & Hydration

Zambia has a sunny climate, so it is essential to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Use sunscreen with a high SPF, wear hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, breathable clothing. If planning safari experiences, oral rehydration salts are helpful to keep you hydrated during long days in the heat. 

Medical Services and Facilities in Zambia
  • Public Health Facilities: Zambia has a network of public health facilities, including hospitals, health centers, and clinics, operated by the Ministry of Health. These facilities provide healthcare services to the general public and are located throughout the country. 
  • Private Health Facilities: There are also private hospitals, clinics, and medical centers in major cities like Lusaka and Livingstone. These facilities may offer more specialized care and services, and they often have English-speaking staff. 
  • International Clinics: Some hospitals and clinics in Zambia cater specifically to the needs of international patients. These clinics often have English-speaking staff, and they may be preferred by expatriates and travelers. 

Consular Assistance in Zambia

There is no centralized number to reach emergency services outside of Lusaka.

If you are in Lusaka, dial:

  • Police: 991
  • Medical Assistance: 991 or 995
  • Firefighters: 993

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

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