In preparation for our (eventual) travel to Ethiopia, I had to get immunized today: meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis (A&B), typhoid, and polio. Yes, that was five vaccinations–two in the right arm, three in the left. The doctor also wrote me a prescription for an antimalarial drug and an antibiotic for bacterial diarrhea. If you get diarrhea while traveling, it’s the result of having eaten something you shouldn’t have. The doc recommended I get the H1N1 flu vaccine and a pertussis (whooping cough) booster as well.
I was also given a TRAVAX Traveler Health Report that details most if not all of the potential health risks and immunizations a traveler to Ethiopia should consider. The report contains a “travel advisory” as well, compiled from sources like the US Department of State, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The report lists a number of threats and warnings for visitors, including:
- “the presence of land mines, civil unrest, and the threat of terrorism”
- “the highest rate of traffic fatalities per vehicle in the world”
- “highway banditry and armed carjacking” outside major cities
- “small bombings and explosions”
- “pickpocketing, bag and jewelry snatching”
- lots of other things
To summarize, I’ve received immunizations for diseases to which, under most circumstances, I’d never be exposed at home and been warned that Ethiopia may be a frighteningly dangerous place for visitors, especially those from the West.