Fighting African Diseases


Last week I went into the travel clinic with a long list of vaccinations I would need for my trip to Africa.  Luckily, I already had many of the basics: Hep A, Hep B, Polio, Tetanus… the list goes on.  In order just to enter the country of Tanzania, you must present proof of a yellow fever vaccination.  I also lacked typhoid, malaria, and the worst one on my list — rabies.

My first of three rabies shots was last Friday, and at nearly $300 per shot, the cost adds up.  The majority of people heading to Africa won’t need to put themselves through the rabies series.  But, again, as someone who will be spending four months in the bush, for a wildlife management program, it becomes a precaution worth taking.

I had heard the rumors that the rabies vaccine is injected straight into your bellybutton, and I’ll admit I was not looking forward to the experience.  The nurse laughed out loud when I asked if it was true.  They haven’t done it that way since the 1960s, she said.

Getting vaccines is one of the least enjoyable parts of travel preparation, but every needle in my arm (and not my bellybutton!) brings me one step closer to my departure for Kenya and Tanzania in September! If you’re thinking about traveling to a foreign country, you can read more about disease prevention from the Center for Disease Control here.

What’s the worst vaccine you’ve had to get for travel?  Leave a comment!

Until next time,



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