Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) varies physically from the Namibia and Kalahari deserts to fertile plateaus and plains to the more temperate climate of the southern coast. Many of the diseases listed in the following section occur in localized foci and are confined to rural areas. They are mentioned so that the international traveler and the medical practitioner concerned can be aware of the diseases that can occur.
Anthropod Borne Diseases
Arthropod-borne diseases such as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, malaria, plague, relapsing fever, Rift Valley fever, tick-bite fever, and typhus (mainly tickborne) have been reported from most of this area. However, except for malaria (chloroquine resistant) in certain areas, they are not likely to be major health problems for the traveler. Natural foci of plague have been reported in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) can occur in Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Various forms of filariasis, leishmaniasis, and tungiasis (skin penetration by larva of the female sand flea) may be found in some areas of Zimbabwe.
Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases
Foodborne and waterborne diseases are common in some areas, particularly amebiasis and typhoid fever. Hepatitis A occurs in this area. Schistosomiasis is endemic in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
Other diseases: The southern African countries are on the verge of becoming poliomyelitis-free, and risk of contacting poliovirus is now low. Hepatitis B is hyperendemic. Rabies can be a hazard in some areas.
Other hazards include snake bites.