Beware the travel bug you don't want to catch

May 01, 2015

Despite advances in modern medicine, today’s traveller still runs the gauntlet of several life threatening diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, when travelling to certain parts of the world.
Malaria, a mosquito borne infectious disease, continues to be prevalent in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 300-500 million cases occur worldwide annually and more than two million people die from it.
Each year, approximately 1,800 UK travellers return home with malaria. Symptoms include fever and flu like illness, including shaking, chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may also occur.
Anyone who becomes ill with a fever or flu like symptoms while travelling, and for up to one year after returning home, should immediately seek professional medical care.
Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs but it’s always advisable to take anti malaria tablets prior to travelling. The MOHS travel health centre can advise on which tablets to take and when to start taking them.
Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by a bite from infected mosquitoes mainly found in Central and South America, sub Saharan Africa and parts of the Caribbean. This potentially fatal disease can damage the liver and other internal organs. Symptoms include fever and a yellowing of the skin.
The WHO estimates there are around 200,000 reported cases of yellow fever worldwide each year, resulting in an estimated 30,000 deaths. Yellow fever appears to be on the rise internationally.
While the actual number of yellow fever cases among UK travellers to these ‘at risk’ countries is low, vaccination is advised since yellow fever has no cure and can be deadly.
“UK residents visiting friends and family in African and Asian countries often mistakenly believe they don’t need vaccination protection against these deadly tropical diseases – but they do as they won’t have built up any resistance,” said Chrissie Wood, MOHS travel health nurse.
MOHS travel Health Centre, located in Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, is a registered Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre, certified to provide the recommended yellow fever vaccine, plus relevant travel advice.
For more information about these two diseases or any other travel health issue, please email chrissiewood@mohs.co.uk or call 0121 601 4041.



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