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Monday, 18 August 2014 12:00 AM

Illnesses on Holiday in Morocco

Morocco is a step away outside of the comfort zone for many holiday makers and, on top of concerns about safety and food, bugs causing sickness are often top of people’s concerns before they travel.

Before we go into a little detail below, our advice in summary is – be sensible, have adequate holiday insurance but don’t worry. The advice below is correct in August 2014.

Vacinations

There are no compulsory vaccinations for visitors to Morocco, though it is advisable always to check that your jabs are up to date at your local health centre – vaccinations including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox (varicella) and polio.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are also advisable for most travellers as these illnesses can be caught through contaminated water or food especially in rural areas.

Rabies is present in Morocco but the cases are rare and, unless you are planning to work with animals, the vaccination is not recommended.

Malaria is only found in rural areas of Chefchaouen Province, where there is a very limited risk. As in any insect infected area, you are advised to protect yourself from insect bites.

Hospitals - Good In Cities

The major cities have large, modern and well-equipped hospitals, and the major cities also often have good hospitals but in rural towns and villages hospital care may be a long travel away so the local pharmacies will offer a first best point of call for many illnesses.

Your riad or other accommodation will help you get to that care if needed. However, note that Morocco does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK so all costs will be your liability but may be covered by your holiday insurance.

Food and Water - Be Sensible

Stomach upsets are the most common form of illness when holidaying in Morocco (especially in summer). Whilst most food in restaurants (and even street food) is safe to eat, ensure you drink boiled water only (tap water is considered safe to drink, but we advise to avoid the risk) and ensure seafood is fresh.

Sun - Is Strong In Morocco

Throughout the year the sun shine in Morocco can be dangerous, most obviously in summer months and at high altitudes but not only in this times and places. Holiday makers should wear suitable sun cream and clothing at all times when in the sun.

Ebola - Not In Morocco

Morocco is on the west side of Africa and the 2014 outbreak of Ebola is in West-Africa, but the outbreak (currently in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia) is a long way from Morocco (around 2 thousand miles away and separated by the Saharan desert).

We are not aware of any reports of the disease reaching Morocco and it is reported that it is likely to be spread by air travel – hence is as likely to jump to Europe as it is to Morocco.

If you still have concerns, we suggest that you also wait for advice from the volunteer organisation you are visiting and also you could seek further advice from your embassy/government state/public health sites about this. It is difficult to be conclusive on this, but it appears as likely that the current outbreak would jump to the UK as it would Morocco due to flight distributions. However, it is very serious and we will maintain a watching brief on this for any news.