Eritrea

Eritrea

Use High Level of Caution

The State of Eritrea is in eastern Africa in the Horn of Africa bordering Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan with coastline and islands in the Red Sea. The population is about 6.3 million people. The government is a presidential republic with a president as both chief of state and head of government.

Italians, who established Eritrea as a colony in 1890 and ruled for 50 years, left infrastructure for government, education, and transportation that was advanced compared to most of Africa. The British ousted the Italians in 1941. After World War II, Eritrea was given to Ethiopia with the agreement that Eritrea would be a self-governing territory. However, a 30-year war began when Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962. Eritrea gained independence in 1993.

In recent years, the country has been relatively stable, and there is potential to develop the travel industry. The country hopes to develop the Red Sea coastline as a tourist attraction. There is potential for tourism at beaches, archeological sites, Massawa Island, and the capital city of Asmara.

Currency ERN: Nafka
Language Tigrinya, Arabic, and English
Capital Asmara
Recent Alerts 1
Latest Alert December 28, 2018 - Eritrea Borders With Ethiopia Closed

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Eritrea. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Eritrea through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Eritrea.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Eritrea, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever

There is a low risk of yellow fever transmission in some areas of Eritrea. This country requires a certificate of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers 9 months of age or older if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission or if transiting more than 12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission. Vaccination is generally not recommended for travellers going to the following states: Anseba, Debub, Gash Barka, Mae Kel and Semenawi Keih Bahri. The vaccination is not recommended for all other areas not listed.

Meningitis

Meningitis outbreaks may occur in Eritrea. Travellers who visit during the dry season (December to June) or expect to have prolonged contact with the local population are especially at risk.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Eritrea. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks occur in Eritrea. The risk to travellers is low unless living or working in poor sanitary conditions, drinking untreated water or eating poorly cooked or raw seafood in this country.

Malaria

All areas of Eritrea at altitudes below 2,200 meters are at high risk for malaria, except Asmara where there is no risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Eritrea. Travellers to Eritrea are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever may occur in this country

African Tick Bite Fever

This disease may occur in the country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Eritrea.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is a low risk of yellow fever transmission in some areas of Eritrea. This country requires a certificate of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers 9 months of age or older if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission or if transiting more than 12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission. Vaccination is generally not recommended for travellers going to the following states: Anseba, Debub, Gash Barka, Mae Kel and Semenawi Keih Bahri. The vaccination is not recommended for all other areas not listed.

Meningitis Vaccine

Because this country is located in the sub-Saharan meningitis belt, vaccination against meningitis is recommended if travelling during the dry season (December to June).

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions. The U.S. CDC recommends the cholera vaccine for travellers who are 18-64 years of age and who plan to travel to areas of active cholera transmission. CDC notes that most travellers do not travel to areas of active cholera transmission, and that safe food and water practices can prevent many cholera infections.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Eritrea.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medications include atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxime-pyrimethamine has been reported.

Safety and Security in Eritrea

Emergency Numbers

291 (1) 127 799
291 (1) 202 914
291 (1) 202 099
291 (1) 201 917
291 (1) 201 606

There is no national emergency telephone number, and the ability to respond to emergencies may be limited.

Personal Safety

The crime level is low in Eritrea, but due to shortages and inflation, some may resort to crime to support their family. Take precautions to safeguard valuables and keep them out of sight. Do not walk alone at night.

Road conditions may be poor in some areas, particularly during rainy season. Avoid travelling after dark. Roads in rural areas may be in poor condition and unlit at night. Exercise caution. You must obtain a local driver's permit to drive in Eritrea.

Travellers should take note of whether they will be travelling during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. During this time, respect the religious practices of the country and avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. Always dress conservatively to respect local customs.

The movements of foreigners are restricted. All foreign nationals must apply for a travel permit to leave Asmara.

Do not take photos of government or military buildings.

LGBTI travellers should note that same-sex sexual activity is strictly prohibited in Eritrea.

Eritrea is at risk for earthquakes and is in an active volcanic zone.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid travel to the border with either Ethiopia, Sudan or Djibouti due to political conflict and the potential for violent military clashes. The borders may close without warning. Furthermore, reports indicate the border with Ethiopia has been mined.

Avoid travelling to rural areas due to landmines. Do not stray from main roads. Avoid hiking or walking in the countryside.

Political Unrest

Protests do occur in Eritrea and may turn violent and/or disrupt transportation. Always avoid large public gatherings or demonstrations since the situation can be unpredictable.

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