Research by Sadia Hanif

People who travel, especially to the Sub continent
and African Countries, are requested to take special
precautions to avoid serious communicable diseases.
The important diseases those have to be kept in mind
are the following.

HEPATITIS A: This is a highly contagious infection
producing Jaundice . The mode of spread is usually
contaminated food and water. Proper precautions
have to be taken to avoid contracting this by taking
hygienic food. Using boiled or bottled water may also
help to avoid this illness. An efficient injectable
vaccination is available and it is advisable to get
immunised before travelling.

HEPATITIS B: This is the dreaded type of Jaundice
producing Chronic Liver Disease including Hepatic
Cancer. This spreads through contaminated blood and
body fluids which occures by way of injections, iv
fluids and sexual contact. Disposable syringes and
safe sex are important to avoid this. There is an
effective course of Immunisation available which offer
protection against this serious illness and it is very
important to get immunised as there is no treatment

TYPHOID: This is a very common and prevalent
disese in the tropical countries, spread through
contaminated food and water. Proper food hygiene is
important. There is an effective 3 day oral course of
immunisation available to protect against this disease.

MALARIA: This is a serious illness causing high
morbidity and mortality. The Malarial Parasite spreads
through Mosquitoes. Proper protection by using
mosquito nets and repellants are useful. There are
prophylatic oral tablets which can offer protection.
People travelling to Malaria endemic regions are
advised to use this.

AIDS: This dreaded disease has to be kept in mind,
as it is becoming a major health problem in developing
countries. More than 10% of the population in some
of the African countries are infected already and the
illness is spreading like wild fire. It is notorious for the
Ice Berg phenomenon with only the tip of the problem
visible to us. There are several asymptomatic HIV
Positive carriers who may not even be aware that
they are carrying the virus. The mode of spread is
through contaminated blood and body fluids which
usually occures by way of sexual contact, unsterile
syringes etc. Safe sex and use of sterile disposable
syringes are very important as there is no
immunisation or treatment.

Please keep the above illnesses in mind and undertake necessary precautions by consulting your Doctor. Apart from your usual doses of Paracetamol and Aspirin, make it a point to carry a stock of Disposable syringes while you travel, as these are being unfortunately recycled by unscrupulous anti social elements, in many Third World countries.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE, especially as some of these illnesses like Hepatitis B and AIDS do not have any cure at all.