Health Risks of Travellers

Travellers need to be aware of the specific risks that might affect them while they are away from home. In this posting, we shall briefly look at the common risks without going into any great detail.

Various surveys show that the most frequent infectious disease among travellers is traveller’s diarrhoea. It affects at least 20% of visitors to the third world and can affect over 60% of travellers to certain destinations. Those staying with friends and relatives have a different risk from tourists. Even among tourists, the risk depends on whether you are trekking, staying in a plush hotel or sailing in and out again on a cruise liner.

Malaria is the next most common infection and arguably the most important one worldwide. It can affect up to 4% (1 in 25) of people visiting West Africa if they do not use anti-malarial drugs as part of their prevention.

Other infectious diseases include influenza (flu), dengue fever, rabies from animal bites and scratches, tuberculosis, hepatitis and typhoid fever. We plan to post items on each of these over the coming weeks.

Let’s remember that accidents are the most frequent cause of death in visitors to developing countries. 0.001% (1 in 1000) of travellers to these countries suffer a fatal accident. Non-fatal accidents are, of course, more frequent.

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