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).
Somalia is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located in eastern Africa between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, its climate is mainly desert.
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 (recognition of lifetime validity is uncertain) is required for travelers aged ≥ 9 months coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. Note: This applies to airport layovers longer than 12 hours in these countries.
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)(2015) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the whole country. Risk is relatively low and seasonal in the north. It is higher in the central and southern parts of the country.
- Recommended prevention: 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.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: High.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum 90%, P. vivax 5%-10%, P. malariae, and P. ovale 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 violent crime, kidnapping, and other ongoing security concerns, U.S. (DOS), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise avoiding all travel to this country. U.K. (FCO) concurs, except advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to the cities of Hargeysa and Berbera (Woqooyi Galbeed Region).
High risk of attack by domestic and transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in Mogadishu and the Aden Adde International Airport. 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 Somaliland and Puntland regions. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
High risk of violent crime (armed robbery, carjacking, and murder) and petty crime exists throughout the country.
Kidnappings by criminal groups may occur throughout the country.
Protests and demonstrations occur throughout the country, especially in Mogadishu, 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.
Somalia's coastline is considered among the world's most dangerous owing to piracy. Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters, and in some cases, further out at sea.
Other Safety Threats
The security situation in Somalia is highly unstable, particularly in south-central Somalia and Mogadishu itself. Armed conflict among various groups is widespread across the country, including among local militias and clans. All forms of violent crime, including murder, kidnapping, looting, and banditry, are common. Protected humanitarian missions and workers, including those working for the United Nations, have also been subject to attack. Security escorts, even the Special Protection Unit (SPU) made available to international visitors by the Somaliland and Puntland authorities, are not a guarantee of safety.
Anti-Western sentiments are strong in many parts of the country. Travelers are at risk of kidnapping or murder, or arrest without notice or apparent cause, and there have been targeted assassinations of foreigners, among them journalists, human-rights activists, and humanitarian workers.
Parts of Somaliland and Puntland have experienced relative periods of stability compared to the south-central part of the country. However, violent attacks on foreign targets, including workers and buildings under the auspices of the United Nations, continue to highlight the extremely unstable and unpredictable security situation. Such attacks have been reported in the Sanaag and Sool regions of Somaliland and the border with Puntland. Tensions and escalating violence in the south of the country could also spread to Somaliland and Puntland at any time.
Significant risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is > 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.
The monsoon season is from May through October in southwestern areas and December through February in northeastern areas. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Extreme heat (which can lead to heat-related illness) occurs from April through September.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Somalia
- United States: The U.S. does not have an embassy or consulate in Somalia.
- Canada: Canada does not have an embassy or consulate in Somalia.
- United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-mogadishu
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Somalia.
Somalia's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.somaliembassydc.net
- In Canada: Somalia does not have an embassy or consulate in Canada.
- In the U.K.: Somalia does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.K.
- In Australia: www.somaliconsulate.com.au
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.