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).
Burkina Faso is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located in western Africa (north of Ghana and south of Mali), the climate is classified as dry (semi arid).
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. This also applies to all airport transit stops in risk countries.
- 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)(2018) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the entire 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 > 80%, 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, violent crime, and other ongoing security concerns, U.K. (FCO) advises avoiding travel to all areas north of Boulsa (Centre-Nord Region); within 40 km (25 mi) of the borders with Mali and Niger; and Gourma, Kompienga, and Tapoa provinces in Est Region (including W National Park and Arli National Park); and advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to the rest of the country. Canada (GAC) concurs except advises avoiding travel to areas north of the Tougan–Ouahigouya–Djibo–Dori line and within 80 km (50 mi) of the border with Mali. U.S. (DOS) and Australia (DFAT) have more limited warnings.
High risk of attack by domestic and/or transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in Ouagadougou. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
Since 2016, attacks have targeted areas frequented by tourists in Ouagadougou, including hotels and restaurants.
High risk of kidnapping by terrorist groups exists throughout the country, especially in northern and southwestern areas and in areas bordering Niger and Benin. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners).
Risk of violent crime (armed robbery and carjacking) exists in cities and on major roads.
High risk of petty crime exists in cities, especially in Ouagadougou (in areas surrounding the UN traffic circle and Central Market). Risk exists throughout the rest of the country.
Scams involving a wide range of financial activities 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, free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.
A dangerous security environment may exist in northern areas bordering Mali and Niger.
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.
Public buses and taxis do not meet international safety standards (due to unsafe vehicles, poor maintenance, and hazardous driving).
Many taxis are unsafe. Use taxis from official ranks or dispatched via smart phone app or radio from a reputable company and ascertain the license or identification number of the dispatched vehicle.
The rainy season is from June through October. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Sandstorms and dust storms occur from February through June.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Burkina Faso
- United States: [+226] 25-49-53-00; bf.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+226] 25-49-08-00; www.burkinafaso.gc.ca
- United Kingdom: U.K. does not have an embassy or consulate in Burkina Faso.
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.burkina-usa.org
- In Canada: ambabf-ca.org/en
- In the U.K.: Burkina Faso does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.K.
- In Australia: Burkina Faso does not have an embassy or consulate in Australia.
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.