The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
Afghanistan is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located west of Pakistan in southern Asia, its climate is arid to semiarid with hot summers and cold winters, especially in the north.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
Although yellow fever does not occur in Afghanistan, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers coming from countries with risk of YF transmission.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, typhoid fever, or a one time polio booster if you haven't previously received one for travel. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2013) Malaria risk—P. falciparum and P. vivax—exists from May through November below 2000 m.
- Recommended prevention in risk areas: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: April–December in all areas < 2,500 m (8,202 ft).
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Moderate3
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine
- Malaria species: P. vivax 80%-90%, P. falciparum 10%-20%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
3 The estimated relative risk value for Afghanistan is based largely on cases occurring in US military personnel who travel for extended periods of time with unique itineraries that likely do not reflect the risk for the average US traveler.
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to terrorism, military conflict, and other ongoing security concerns, U.S. (DOS), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise avoiding all travel to this country. U.K. (FCO) has a more limited warning.
High risk of attack by domestic and transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
High risk of kidnapping by terrorist groups exists throughout the country, including Kabul. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
High risk of violent crime (armed robbery, sexual assault, carjacking, and murder) and low risk of petty crime exist throughout the country, mainly in rural areas.
Protests and demonstrations occur throughout the country and have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities. Disruption to transportation, free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.
Armed conflict may occur, a dangerous security environment exists, landmines and other unexploded ordnance are present, and military presence exists throughout the country.
High risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is 12 to 24 per 100,000 population. The rate is < 10 in most high-income countries. Speed laws are poorly enforced. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
Road-traffic collisions can lead to violent confrontations.
All taxis are unsafe. Use an experienced, professional driver.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
The rainy season is from December through April. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Winter storms frequently occur. Avalanches may occur, especially in mountainous areas.
Seismic activity frequently occurs.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Afghanistan
- United States: [+93] 0-700-10-8001; af.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+93] 0-701-108-800; www.afghanistan.gc.ca
- United Kingdom: [+93] 0-700-102-000; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-kabul
- Australia: [+61] 2 6261 3305; afghanistan.embassy.gov.au
Afghanistan's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.afghanembassy.us
- In Canada: www.afghanemb-canada.net
- In the U.K.: afghanistanembassy.org.uk
- In Australia: www.afghanembassy.net
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.