In Southern Africa, the influenza season starts in May/June and continues into August/September. If travelling during this period, the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks prior to arrival in South Africa to allow time for the immune response to develop. The vaccine does not contain live virus and is considered safe in transplant recipients and immunosuppresed travellers, but the protective effect of the vaccine is likely to be less in this group but would still reduce complications of influenza. Medication to treat influenza (oseltamivir- 'Tamiflu') is available on prescription in South Africa.
Influenza is a viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and, occasionally, lungs. Infection usually lasts for about a week, and is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache and severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis.
You are advised to visit your general practice surgery or a travel medicine clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel. However, it is never too late to seek advice.
If you have a medical condition, you are advised to discuss the suitability of the trip before you book.