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Diseases potentially acquired by travel to West Africa

David Murdoch, MD, MSc, DTM&H, FRACP, FRCPA, FFSc(RCPA)
Section Editor
Karin Leder, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, MPH, DTMH
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


West Africa comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. This region encompasses tropical rain forests in the west and south and desert areas in the north.


Malaria — Malaria is a major risk for most travelers to West Africa [1]. Endemic areas exist in all countries in this region. Except for Cape Verde, Plasmodium falciparum is the predominant cause of malaria, and chloroquine resistance is widespread. Country-specific risk areas are listed below [2]:

Benin – Risk throughout the year in the whole country

Burkino Faso – Risk throughout the year in the whole country

Cape Verde – Limited risk from August through November on Santiago Island and Boa Island

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 22, 2017.
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