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).
Mauritania is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located in northwestern Africa along the Atlantic Ocean, its climate is desert (constantly hot, dry, and dusty). Desert climate in portions of this country may aggravate respiratory conditions.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
An official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary. Vaccination is usually recommended if you’ll be traveling in areas where there is risk of yellow fever transmission.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission.
- Official Status: listed by WHO as a country where YF transmission risk is present.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, or typhoid fever. 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 due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the whole country, except in northern areas (Dakhlet‐Nouadhibou and Tiris‐Zemour). In Adrar and Inchiri there is malaria risk during the rainy season (from July to October inclusive).
- 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: All areas, including the city of Nouakchott.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: High.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine
- Malaria species: P. falciparum >85%, P. ovale 5%-10%, P. vivax rare.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
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 and ongoing security concerns, U.K. (FCO), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise avoiding travel to Tiris Zemmour, Adrar, Tagant, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh el Gharbi, Assaba, and Guidimaka regions and within 25 km (16 mi) of the border with Western Sahara; and advise reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to the Nouakchott-Nouadhibou corridor and the rest of the country. U.S. (DOS) has a more limited warning.
Risk of attack by domestic and transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in areas bordering Mali. 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, especially in remote and desert areas, including areas bordering Mali and Western Sahara. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
Risk of violent crime (armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking) and petty crime exists throughout the country, especially in Nouakchott (particularly in remote beach areas and Cinquieme Quartier).
Kidnappings by criminal groups occur throughout the country, especially in remote and desert areas. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, missionaries, and aid workers.
Scams involving a wide range of financial activities (including money transfer schemes) and false befriending have been reported.
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 may occur.
Landmines and other unexploded ordnance are present in areas bordering Western Sahara.
Desert excursions should only be undertaken with organized groups and experienced guides. Participants should inform someone not on the tour of their itinerary and anticipated return time. An adequate supply of food and water for extended unforeseen delays is essential.
Significant risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is greater than 24 per 100,000 population, the highest risk category. Carefully assess the safety of transportation options before any road travel. Speed laws are poorly enforced. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
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.
Private buses, rail services, and taxis do not meet international safety standards (due to unsafe vehicles).
Taxis are unsafe. Use a privately hired driver.
The rainy season is from July through October, especially in southern areas. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Sandstorms and dust storms occur.
Extreme heat (which can lead to heat-related illness) occurs during the summer.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Mauritania
- United States: [+222] 4525-2660; mr.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+222] 45-29-26-97; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/mauritania
- United Kingdom: U.K. does not have an embassy or consulate in Mauritania.
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Mauritania.
Mauritania's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: [+1] 202-232-5700
- In Canada: [+1] 514-303-8848
- In the U.K.: [+44] 020-7233-6158
- In Australia: Mauritania does not have an embassy or consulate in Australia.
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.