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02/08/2006

Medical Matters

Medical Matters

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Introduction

There are so many people still having medical questions even after they've been to a travel clinic. This is often because they've gotten wrong or confusing information from other travellers like "malaria pills are no longer effective and have nasty side effects". I've made this page to clarify some of these remarks.
The info you find here comes from official organisations like World Health Organisation, CDC and the Belgian Tropical Institute. I've also added info which I gathered from the medical literature. 

Medical problems during travelling in tropical countries

R. Steffen from the WHO  has published a nice series of medical problems encountered by travellers going to tropical countries. Here's his list with the frequencies for people staying 1 month.

Medical problem Percentage
Any problem 55%
Felt sick 25%
Visited a doctor 8%
Had to stay in bed 6%
Could not go to work afterwards 2%

Diarrhea

Travellers diarrhea 30-80%
Severe diarrhea 6%
Malaria
Malaria in W-Africa while NOT taking profylaxis 2,4%
Malaria in E-Africa while NOT taking profylaxis 1,5%
Other places: see footnote*  
Hepatitis
Hepatitis  
Hepatitis A: see footnote** 0,3 to 2%
Hepatitis B*** 0,085%


Footnotes:

* The incidence of malaria may seem low, but this are average numbers, in some areas the risk may be a lot higher (up to 10% per day).
**The risk of hepatitis A depends on your way of travelling. 2% is for the backpacker, 0,3% is for the Sheraton traveller.
***The risk of hepatitis B is almost non-existent if you don't involve in sexual activities or don't get transfusions of blood products or injections with unsterilized needles.

Topics

I've started with malaria and hepatitis, but I'm planning to make other topics as well.When downloading the malaria page, be patient, it's really a lot of info.

 

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