Before Travelling to Kenya
Before travelling to Kenya you should ensure that you are up to date with the latest travel advice and information – as parts of Kenya can be dangerous for foreign travellers due to the possibility of terrorist attacks, civil unrest or increased crime levels.
When it comes to travel vaccinations for Kenya, reading the information on this page, and speaking to the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor about what you plan to do while in Kenya, how you plan to travel and any further plans you have to visit other countries is recommended.
The advice on this page is general advice only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should use this information to start a conversation with the doctor and raise any questions or concerns during your appointment – click to make a booking.
Before travelling anywhere in the world it is important to ensure you are up to date with the childhood immunisation schedule, and in some cases this may include a regular yearly flu shot. If you are unsure whether you are fully up to date or if you require any booster shots, the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor can arrange that for you. Apart from the standard vaccinations from childhood, when travelling to Kenya, vaccinations may be needed for the following diseases:
How soon should you tell the doctor you are going to Kenya?
You should tell the doctor where you are going and find out which shots you might need at least a one month before you travel where possible, as some shots may need to be administered over a few doses spaced out over a month. Smart Traveller recommends making an appointment for at least eight weeks prior to travelling.
Hepatitis A and Typhoid
While in Kenya you may be at increased risk of getting Hepatitis A or Typhoid from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Some other food and water borne diseases may also pose a risk and these are discussed below.
Contracting hepatitis A or typhoid is possible no matter where you are staying in Kenya, and includes those staying with friends or relatives while there. Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver, while typhoid is a bacterial disease presenting more like the flu. These can both be vaccinated against with a single combined shot before you travel if you need both of them.
Each year around 50-70 Australian travellers return to Australia infected with typhoid, displaying flu-like symptoms that can take up to two weeks to appear.
Adults who have never had a booster shot for Polio, and children who may not be up to date with the vaccine should speak to the doctor about getting vaccinated against Polio. The vaccine may be recommended when travelling through Kenya because Polio can still be present there. Adults only need to have one booster shot to cover them for the rest of their life.
Hepatitis B is another disease affecting the liver, and may be passed on through sexual contact, sharing needles or other activities that can lead to exchange of bodily fluids such as tattoos, piercings or medical procedures. If you are planning on getting a tattoo or piercing or meeting a new partner while in Kenya then this vaccine may be recommended for you. Read more about hepatitis B (and hepatitis A) on the Hepatitis page.
Malaria is present and poses a risk throughout the year in Kenya except in Nairobi and in areas above 2500m in elevation, so it is likely you will be recommended anti-malarial medication for your trip. Malaria is passed on through mosquito bites, so it is important to avoid getting bitten by using repellent, wearing long, loose clothing, and sleeping with air conditioning or a mosquito net.
Meningitis (meningococcal disease)
Kenya is in the Sub-Saharan ‘Meningitis Belt’ so during the dry season, from December to June each year, there is a risk of contracting the disease. For travellers visiting Kenya during those months the vaccine will likely be recommended. Speak to the doctor about when you are going to Kenya to discuss the risk and get the vaccine.
Rabies may be found in dogs, rats, bats or other mammals in Kenya, and some groups of travellers are more likely to come into contact with these. You can find out more about the rabies virus on the rabies page. The Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor may recommend this vaccine for the following groups:
- Those doing outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, caving
- Those who will be working with animals while in Kenya
- Those who are moving to Kenya or taking an extended trip
- Children who may play with animals and not report animal contact
When travelling through Kenya yellow fever may be present in some parts, so this vaccine is often recommended for anyone older than 9 months. The Kenyan government will also require you to produce proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever.
General protection against infectious diseases
While travelling through Kenya, it is important to follow strict hygiene procedures including hand washing, boiling water before drinking or only drinking bottled water. It is also advised not have ice if you are unsure where the water came from and not to eat uncooked, unpeeled fruits and vegetables. This will also help protect you against other food or water borne diseases, such as cholera, measles and tuberculosis. Swimming in fresh water is also not advised.