What Every Traveler Should Know About Preventing Tropical Disease
The first step to take is to identify the tropical diseases in the area you will be
traveling to. Yellow fever is a tropical disease found in tropical America south of Panama Canal and sub-Saharan
Traveling on business or for pleasure can both be ruined when a tropical disease is contracted. Taking
precautions before your trip to insure that you will be able to avoid getting a tropical disease is worth any
measure you have to take.
The first step to take is to identify the tropical diseases in the area you will be traveling to. Yellow fever
is a tropical disease found in tropical America south of Panama Canal and sub-Saharan Africa. Currently 11
countries in Latin America and 33 countries in Africa have active cases of yellow fever. Most of the cases of
yellow fever occur in sub- Saharan Africa.
Receiving available immunizations is a preventative measure that your doctor can explain to you as well as give
to you. You will need to keep your International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV) in your passport to prove that
you have been vaccinated. The vaccine should be administered no later than 10 days before entering an active
country for that disease.
The risk for malaria depends on the season, your country of destination, the number of bites you receive and the
timing of the bites. Malaria can be contracted in both the city as well as in the country.
Malaria is a highly curable disease if caught early on so detection, diagnosis and early treatment are
important. The two things a traveler needs to do to avoid malaria is to first, take the antimalarial medication
when you are in a risk-free zone, then avoid bites by using deet containing insect repellent and wear long-sleeved
clothing, do not wear perfumes or colognes, and sleep inside an air-conditioned room or under a good quality
You used to have to have an immunization against Cholera but the World Health Organization (WHO) has a policy
that states that it is no longer required for travelers to have.
Specialist who know where the disease outbreaks are occurring and what to do to prevent contracting these
diseases can be found at astmh.org so check this Website during your preparations for traveling to be well informed
about what you may need to do to protect yourself against tropical diseases while traveling.
Tips for traveling safely in tropical diseased areas:
Take antimalarial pills
Avoid mosquito bites
Use sunblock when traveling to tropical climates to avoid burns that can be entry points for disease causing
Drink only boiled water or commercially bottled water
Avoid ice, salads and reheated foods, uncooked shellfish and street vendor food
Do not swim in fresh water unless you know for sure it is free of biharzia (schistosomiasis) if you are
traveling to the Caribbean, South America, Africa or the Middle East or even Southeast Asia.
Avoid walking around in bare feet as parasites can be contracted that way.
Use condoms when having sex with foreigners and avoid anal-oral sex.
Use either air-conditioning when sleeping or a good quality sleeping net for protection from mosquitoes.