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This page gives a general overview of some of the diseases you should be aware of before you set off. Each disease is covered in more detail on their own page.

Although the sound of some of the dieses may put you off going remember that with a bit of knowledge and being well prepared they shouldn't cause you're trip to be too disrupted. Check with your doctor before you leave and get any injections you may require.

  • Bilharzia is caused by little worms that live in bladder or large intestine. It is spread by a snail that lives in fresh water. To avoid getting it don't bath in still or slow moving water. If you have to drink from the water either boil it or use chlorine tablets. The main areas of infection is Africa but it is also present in parts of South America and Asia.

  • Malaria is spread by the mosquito. Take your anti-malarial drugs as prescribed. If you get the shits then remember the drugs may not be staying in your stomach long enough to work. Try and avoid getting bitten long sleeves and trousers at night, insect repellent and sleep under a mosquito net. The mosquitoes only come out at night. The signs of infection are high fever, shivering and head aches. Seek medical advice immediately. If you are going to be travelling away from medical help then take the required medication with you in case you get it.

  • Giardia is found in tropical climates and causes swelling of stomach and pale colour faeces.

  • Dengue Fever This disease is spread by the mosquito. Currently there is no preventative drug available. Sypotms are fever, headaches and severe joint and muscle pains a rash then developed. This disease has a long recovery period.

  • Hepatitis is a liver disease, the colour of your urine will go orange. There is no cure except for good food and rest.

  • Insects you'll come across include lice, fleas and bed bugs. You may pick them up from the locals. Frequently washing your clothes may help as will insect powder should you get infected. A weekly check may also be a good idea

  • Tetanus is found in many countries. It is fatal and difficult to treat get your immunisation before you leave.

  • Rabies is caused by being bitten by an infected animal. If you are bitten clean the cut well. Immunisation against rabies is now possible.

  • Diahorea For stomach upsets the best thing is to stop eating for 24 hours and drink black tea. If you can't cope with fasting for that period of time then eat bread, rice or pasta. If the problem continues for more than 48 hours consult a doctor.

  • Diphtheria is spread by contaminated dust which comes in contact with the skin or by breathing it in. The syptoms are either a skin infection or throat infection which is more dangerous. There is a vacine that can be used to prevent throat infection and frequent washing and drying of skin can prevent skin contamination

  • Cholera gives you severe watery diarrhoeas, medical help should be sought. Rehydration is the most important thing as you may lose up to 20 litres of water everyday. There is no recognised preventative medicine. The vacine that was available and may be still is has a very low success rate and is no longer recognised my the WHO.

    Remember to get your medical insurance.

    K.Vans-Colina 1992-2002