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Summary of Yellow Fever Policy for South Africa

(Updated information received from the Department of Health dated 01 October 2011)

Prevention of yellow fever in South Africa

Yellow fever is an infectious vector-borne disease that is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito vector such as Aëdes aegypti.

South Africa has a risk of introduction of the disease as the mosquito vector exists in the country. As a result travellers from countries with a low risk of yellow fever transmission pose a risk of yellow fever importation into South Africa.

South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all citizens and non-citizens over one year of age:

  • travelling from a yellow fever risk country (including low risk countries such as Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia); or
  • having been in transit through a yellow fever risk country.

The above requirements are in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005). The IHR requires countries at risk of yellow fever introduction to employ the following measures:

1. To obtain vaccination certificates from individuals travelling from areas determined by the WHO to be at risk of yellow fever transmission. South Africa will exercise the following measures for all travellers from yellow fever risk countries, who are unable to produce a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at the port of entry:

  • refuse entry; or
  • quarantine until their certificate becomes valid, for a period of not more than six days; or
  • those with an exemption certificate due to medical reasons will be:

    • allowed entry;
    • required to report any fever or other symptoms to the health authorities
    • placed under surveillance.

Definition of a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate: the vaccination should be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and administered at a Yellow fever-approved vaccination centre at least 10 days before departure to South Africa. The vaccine offers protection 10 days after administration. If the vaccination is administered less than 10 days before departure, the above-mentioned measures will be applied.

2. Disinfection of aircraft, ships, tyre casing consignments and other modes of transportation coming from yellow fever risk countries.

List of countries for which a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into South Africa:

Angola
Argentina
Benin
Bolivia
Brazil
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Chad
Colombia
Guinea-Bissau
Congo
Côte d’Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ecuador
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia
French Guyana
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guyana
Kenya
Liberia
Mali
Mauritania
Niger
Nigeria
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Rwanda
Sao Tome and
Principe
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Somalia
Sudan
Suriname
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Uganda
United Republic of Tanzania
Venezuela
Zambia

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Last updated: 05 March 2012
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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa