Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country (over 100 million people), is unique among African countries in having a majority Christian population, with a diverse and rugged landscape including ancient christian churches cut out from rock. The country has had an unfortunate recent history of war and famine.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Ethiopia. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include other issues not mentioned here.

  • Plan Head - Calendar/Itinerary?

    Six to eight weeks out from departure is a good time to have a travel health consultation. You may need blood tests to check immunity to diseases or need a course of vaccines like rabies for example, and this gives you plenty of time to get everything completed. If you are travelling sooner however it's not too late for an appointment, simply make one as soon as you can.

  • Mosquito's and Bugs

    Mosquitoes transmit a number of viruses including Yellow Fever and malaria which in Ethiopia is widespread. While there are medication options to reduce the risk of malaria, mosquito avoidance is the only way to prevent many of these diseases.

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water in Ethiopia is not safe to drink.

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Everyone should be up to date for routine childhood immunisations and may need adult boosters for such diseases as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B.
    As well as being a recognised Yellow Fever country, additional vaccines may also be recommended depending on your individual medical history, current itinerary and the likelihood of future travel.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements and Recommendations

    This is a very serious but rare mosquito borne disease. Australian travellers to Ethiopia require vaccination for re-entry to Australia. An internationally recognised certificate is issued as proof of vaccination and should be presented when requested at border crossings and on return to Australia.

    Read More
  • Malaria

    The disease is widespread at altitudes below 2500m, with the exception of the capital Addis Ababa (2300m). Most cases are falciparum malaria, the most serious form. Risk of this mosquito borne parasite depends on itinerary and season. Mosquito avoidance is essential. Preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors. Different options are available. We have malaria maps and knowledge to help guide this decision making process. Any fever after travel to malaria areas requires assessment and an urgent blood test to exclude malaria, whether or not preventive medication has been taken.

    Read More
  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A vaccination is usually recommended for travel to Ethiopia.

    Read More
  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid vaccination is often recommended.

  • Rabies

    Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (well before travel). Thoroughly rinse and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.

    Read More
  • Meningitis

    Within the African meningitis belt, vaccination against strains A,C,W and Y may be recommended depending on time of year and itinerary.

    Read More
  • Travellers’ diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery

    Observe strict food and water safety precautions and hand hygiene. Consider taking a water filter and well stocked kit with guidelines for treatment. Seek medical advice/evacuation if persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

    Read More
  • Cholera

    An oral vaccine available for the prevention of cholera which also reduces the risk of travellers diarrhoea, is often taken by those wishing to significantly reduce their risk of gastro.

    Read More
  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers. In tropical climates there is no 'flu season', risk being all year round.

    Read More
  • Sexually transmitted illness

    African countries have the highest rates of HIV in the world. Avoid the risk. STD checks are available on return.

  • Schistosomiasis (otherwise known as Bilharzia)

    Schistosomiasis is caused by microscopic parasite in lakes and rivers which penetrate the skin. The lifecycle leads to migration in different stages through various organs over weeks to months, leading to chronic infection. Avoid skin contact with slow moving fresh water. If exposed a test, and if required treatment, are available on return to Australia.

  • Accidents, alcohol, illicit drugs and tattoos

    Examples include motorbike accidents on poorly lit/maintained roads (wear a helmet), surfing injuries, near drowning, fights and assaults, twisted/broken ankles from potholes in footpaths, and exhaust pipe burns. Alcohol may be tainted/spiked. Be sensible. Make sure you and your friends look after each other and pack a first aid kit. Tattoos carry the risk of HIV/ hepatitis B and C. Drugs carry the risk of jail time or worse.

Latest Health Alerts

  • COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

    March 29, 2020

    As there is no non-essential overseas travel at this time this article will simply remain as an information resource for COVID-19. See our main COVID-19 page for more detailed information. We hope to be able to inform our travelers once again after this crisis passes. The links below remain trustworthy

  • Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

    January 9, 2020

    Over 48,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sri Lanka since 1st October 2019, a significant increase in incidence. Travellers should observe strict mosquito avoidance measures, particularly during daylight hours.

  • Solomon Islands – proof of measles vaccination required

    December 19, 2019

    As a result of recent outbreaks of measles in various countries, the Solomon Islands' will be requiring arriving travellers from/via American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, or Tonga to show proof of measles vaccination, effective December 28th 2019. Vaccination needs to have been at least 15 days prior and