Vaccinations for Egypt
With its ancient pyramids, iconic river, and white sand beaches, Egypt is one of the most popular tourist hotspots on the African continent. However, it’s also a travel destination associated with certain health risks.
What vaccinations do I need for Egypt?
There are no compulsory vaccinations for Egypt; however there are some recommended vaccinations. According to the current guidance, it’s advised that travellers to Egypt get vaccinated against the following diseases:
- Hepatitis A
Depending upon the activities you will be participating in, you may also consider getting vaccinated against hepatitis and rabies. To find out which vaccines you might need, use our Vaccine Checker or visit the MASTA website.
Routine British immunisations
Before you receive your travel vaccinations, you should make sure you have received full courses of all your routine immunisations. These are the vaccinations that you receive as an infant and during your school years, and they give you a good baseline level of protection against diseases that are found in the UK and around the world.
If you can’t remember which vaccines you have received, speak to your GP to request your records. If you have missed some of your routine immunisations, you may need to receive them before leaving the country.
What do the recommended Egypt vaccinations protect against?
The vaccinations listed above are recommended because they correspond to diseases which can be found across Egypt.
How long before travel do I need hepatitis A vaccination?
Ideally, you should get your first dose of the hepatitis A vaccine as soon as you become aware that you are travelling to Egypt. For long term protection from hepatitis A you should receive two injections, six months apart. If this isn’t possible, then you should aim to receive your first injection at least two weeks before your travel as this will still provide some protection for most healthy people.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection which is normally contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water. It is spread in the faeces of an infected person and is more common in areas with poor sanitation. Hepatitis A affects the liver, initially causing flu-like symptoms, and later jaundice, itchy skin and pain around the liver. Though most people recover within a few months, in rare cases it can lead to liver failure.
The hepatitis A vaccine is given as one injection. It can be administered on its own, or in combination with the hepatitis B vaccine or the typhoid vaccine. You can receive another booster vaccine after six to 12 months if you require ongoing protection.
Your travel health specialist may recommend any of the following vaccines after an individual risk assesment:
Tetanus is a bacterial infection which causes pain, stiffness and spasms in the muscles. Tetanus bacteria are often found in soil and manure; they can get into the body through open wounds.
The tetanus vaccine is usually administered as a booster, in combination with the vaccines for diphtheria and polio. The diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster is administered as one injection and provides protection against all three diseases.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection which, like hepatitis A, is normally contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water.
It is spread in the faeces, and occasionally the urine, of an infected person, and is more common in areas with poor sanitation. Typhoid causes a fever, headache, stomach pains, and constipation or diarrhoea. If it is not treated is can cause serious complications such as internal bleeding.
The typhoid vaccine can be given as one injection or as three capsules to be swallowed. In injection form it can be combined with the vaccine for hepatitis A (and administered as one injection). If you are continually at risk of typhoid, you should receive a booster every three years.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection which is spread in blood and bodily fluids. Travellers to Egypt may be at risk of the disease if they have unprotected sex, get a tattoo or body piercing, or receive medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment.
Hepatitis B attacks the liver, initially causing flu-like symptoms and jaundice. Most people recover fully within a few months, but some develop chronic hepatitis which can lead to serious complications such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
The hepatitis B vaccine is administered as three injections over the course of three to six months or several weeks depending on the current vaccination practise carried out at your time of travel. It can be given on its own or in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine.
Rabies is a viral infection which is transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. While in Egypt, interacting with wild animals may put you at risk of rabies; the disease is most commonly spread to humans by dogs, but can also be caught from bats, cats and monkeys (amongst others). The rabies virus spreads slowly to the brain from the site of the bite or scratch, and is nearly always fatal, once symptoms have started.
The rabies vaccine is administered as three injections over the course of one month. If you receive the rabies vaccine, you will still require emergency treatment if you are bitten or scratched. However, this emergency treatment is much easier to administer if you have received the vaccine.
A rabies booster can be administered 10 years after you have received the vaccine.
Where can I get my injections for Egypt?
The following vaccines and boosters are usually available on the NHS, which means you can receive them from your GP for free:
- Hepatitis A vaccine
- Typhoid vaccine
- OR, hepatitis A & typhoid vaccine
- Diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster
If you would prefer to receive these vaccines privately you can use a clinic such as MASTA. You can also use a service like this to receive the hepatitis B and rabies vaccines, which are not normally available on the NHS.
Is there malaria in Egypt?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there have been no cases of locally-spread malaria in Egypt since 2014 when 19 cases were identified in a village. The Egyptian Ministry of Health and local government have set in place thorough malaria control practices and the area remains low-risk. Before 2014, malaria had been considered eliminated from the country since 1998.
Whilst it is unlikely you will catch malaria in Egypt, it’s still recommended that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from bites such as by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing.
If you are planning a trip to Egypt, you will need to make sure that you are properly protected. You should research relevant health risks (such as sun damage, travellers’ diarrhoea and schistosomiasis) and speak to a doctor about receiving certain vaccinations before you leave. You can also receive personal vaccine recommendations by entering the details of your trip into our Vaccination Checker.