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 US 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).
Zambia is a developing nation classified as lower middle income. Located in southern Africa (east of Angola and west of Malawi), the climate classifications range from humid equatorial (long dry season) in the north to dry (semi arid) in the south.
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 certificate proving yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year 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. Note: Reports indicate that Zambia may sporadically require proof of YF vaccination for travelers coming from nonrisk countries as well as all travelers departing Zambia, despite Zambia's published declaration to the contrary under the International Health Regulations.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against cholera, COVID-19, 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 US 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.
- Drug resistance3 : Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum >90%, P. vivax up to 5%, P. ovale up to 5%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or tafenoquine.4
3 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
4 Primaquine and tafenoquine can cause hemolytic anemia in people with G6PD deficiency. Patients must be screened for G6PD deficiency before starting primaquine or tafenoquine. See Tafenoquine Approved for Malaria Prophylaxis and Treatment for more information.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, with moderate risk in deluxe accommodations. Community sanitation and food safety measures are generally inadequate. Some itineraries (e.g., remote destinations, austere accommodations) and activities (e.g., ecotourism, eating street or local-market food) further increase risk.
Travelers should observe food and beverage precautions, which 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 US Department of State (DOS), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development 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 the presence of armed groups, landmines, and other ongoing security concerns, Australia (DFAT) advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to areas bordering Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique. US (DOS), UK (FCO), and Canada (GAC) have no current warnings.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
Moderate risk of violent crime (armed robbery, home invasion, home robbery, sexual assault, carjacking, and assault) exists throughout the country, especially in areas frequented by tourists and in cities and on roads in Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces.
High risk of petty crime exists throughout the country, especially in crowded markets, on and near public transportation, in shopping areas, and near nightclubs.
Theft of valuables from unattended vehicles is common.
Risk exists of robberies and/or assaults occurring after consuming intentionally drugged food or drink; tourists are frequently targeted. Highest threat areas include Lusaka.
Protests and demonstrations may infrequently occur 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.
Landmines and other unexploded ordnance exist and armed groups may be present in remote areas bordering Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique.
Basic safety standards for recreational water activities (including rafting, kayaking, and tubing) may not be in place. Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators.
Basic safety standards for adventure activities (including activities in the Victoria Falls area) may not be in place. Travelers should only use reputable adventure-sport operators for activities and equipment rentals.
Other Safety Threats
Risk exists for fatal wildlife attacks on safaris and in game parks and reserves. Travelers should closely follow park regulations, always maintain a safe distance from wildlife, and should not exit vehicles or protected enclosures.
National incidence data on traffic-related injury or death are not available.
The rainy season is from November through April. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Zambia
- United States: [+260] 211-357-000; zm.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+260] 211-25-08-33; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/zambia
- United Kingdom: [+260] 211-423-200; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-high-commission-lusaka
- Australia: [+260] 960-706-908
Zambia's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.zambiaembassy.org
- In Canada: www.zambiahighcommission.ca
- In the U.K.: zambiahc.org.uk
- In Australia: [+61] 02-6199-4900
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.