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Travel Advice > All Health Tips > Top 5 Tropical Diseases

Top 5 tropical diseases

Is your next holiday going to be to a tropical destination? Make sure you are aware of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘local disease’ and get the right vaccinations before you travel. To make sure you’re clued up before jetting off have a read of top tropical diseases to look out for:

1. Malaria

If you are travelling to a tropical destination such as Mexico, Indonesia, Bali and Africa you may be at risk of contracting Malaria. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is commonly found in tropical and semi-tropical regions. It can be avoided by taking a course of tablets before you travel, your GP can give you additional advice about this, also make sure you take a high strength insect repellent that has been designed for use in tropical climates with you. When away you might want to consider sleeping under a mosquito net, spray yourself with insect repellent during the day and at night.

2. Cholera

If you are travelling to a country that may have poor sanitation levels such as developing countries you will need to be aware of a Cholera risk. A vaccine is available against Cholera and is said to protect you for up to two years, your GP will be able to advise you whether you need the vaccine. When away make sure you only drink bottled water and avoid having ice in your drink. If you want to be extra careful you might want to use bottled water when brushing your teeth, and make sure you wash your hands before handling food.

3. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is especially common in Africa, and in Southeast Asia. It is also more common in Eastern Europe that Western Europe. The disease is spread by close contact with an infected person, coughing and sneezing by an infected person can spread the disease. Foreign aid workers and backpackers who may be staying in community areas need to take extra precautions. The BCG vaccine lasts for up to 10 years; you may need a booster vaccine if it’s been longer than 10 years since you had the vaccine, check with your GP as to whether you are vaccinated against TB.

4. Typhoid Fever

When away on holiday making sure that what you are eating and drinking comes from a clean source is the best way to prevent Typhoid. Rural areas of developing countries such as New Guinea, Mauritania, and Madagascar are a few of the places that are high risk. A vaccine is available from most GP’s; it should be administered at least two weeks prior to travel and remains effective for up to 3 years.

5. Hepatitis A

Africa, northern and southern Asia, and parts of South America all have high rates of the disease. Infection can be avoided by ensuring high levels of personal hygiene, avoid eating raw salads, vegetables and shellfish, and by drinking bottled water. Vaccinations again Hepatitis A are available, a one off jab provides vaccination for a full year, however a repeat jab can provide up to 25 years of immunity. Speak to your GP before you go away for the best advice.

And finally...

If you are lucky enough to be travelling to more exotic locations it’s important that you are up to date with all of your vaccinations. Your travel agent will be able to inform you of which vaccinations you will need prior to travelling, you can also find additional information on the NHS website

No matter where you are going on holiday don’t forget to buy Travel Insurance before you go away.

It is essential that you have all the required vaccinations before you travel, failure to do so may result in you not being covered for expenses incurred as a result of a tropical disease where you have not had the recommended vaccinations and/or taken the recommended medication.

Have a great holiday!

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