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).
Madagascar is a developing nation classified as low income. Located off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the climate is extremely diverse with classifications that range from humid equatorial (no dry season) to dry (arid).
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
Although yellow fever does not occur in Madagascar, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 9 months coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. This also applies to airport transit stops (no exit through immigration checkpoint) longer than 12 hours in risk countries.
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, 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, with the highest risk in coastal areas.
- 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, except rare cases in the city of Antananarivo.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Moderate.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum 85%, P. vivax 5%-10%, P. ovale 5%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis:
- All areas except the city of Antananarivo: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
- Antananarivo: Mosquito avoidance only.
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.
Other Food-Borne Illnesses
Precautions to prevent seafood poisoning may be needed.
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 targeting Westerners, Canada (GAC) advises avoiding travel to Batterie Beach, Atsimo-Andrefana Region. U.S. (DOS), U.K. (FCO), and Australia (DFAT) have no current warnings.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
High risk of violent crime (armed robbery, home invasion, home robbery, carjacking, and assault) and high risk of petty crime exist throughout the country, especially in Antananarivo (particularly on the steps leading to the Queen’s Palace; on Avenue de l’Indépendance; in Analakely Market; on the road leading to the Soarano train station, 67 Hectares, Itaosy, Antaninarenina, and Tsaralalana); in coastal cities; in national parks (including Amber Mountain, Ankarana, and Isalo); on Nosy Be and Ile Sainte-Marie islands; in the area surrounding Tolagnaro, Pic Saint Louis, and Batterie Beach.
Kidnappings by criminal groups may occur throughout the country, especially in Antananarivo and surrounding areas. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners).
Scams involving false identity (such as criminals posing as tour guides) have been reported.
Protests and demonstrations occur throughout the country, especially in Antananarivo (particularly near government buildings, the national stadium, and historical monuments), 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 exists in Anosy Region.
Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators. Scuba dive only with personnel certified by PADI or NAUI, and use equipment only from PADI- or NAUI-certified dive operators.
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.
Road-traffic collisions can lead to violent confrontations.
Public buses, rail services, and taxis do not meet international safety standards (due to unsafe vehicles and poor maintenance).
Due to security concerns, travel on roads or highways, especially between the cities of Ihosy and Taolangnaro and between the cities of Maintirano and Tsiroanomandidy, is unsafe. Avoid road travel outside of urban areas after dark.
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 November through April, coinciding with the cyclone season. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur, especially in eastern areas.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Madagascar
- United States: [+261] 20-23-480-00; mg.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+261] 20-22-43-256; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/madagascar
- United Kingdom: [+261] 2022-33053; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-antananarivo
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Madagascar.
Madagascar's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.madagascar-embassy.org
- In Canada: www.madagascar-embassy.ca
- In the U.K.: Madagascar does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.K.
- In Australia: [+61] 02-9299-2290
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.