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Look who we met on our holidays.. MOST COMMON TROPICAL DISEASES.

Byline: LUKE CONLAN

IT'S been a harsh winter and many of us are jetting away to foreign destinations to find some winter sun.

Also, hundreds of young people will be heading off around the world to escape the recession in 2011.

But as Cheryl Cole found out when she caught malaria while on holiday in Tanzania, tropical resorts can mean danger if you haven't checked up on the vaccines you might require.

Tropical diseases such as typhoid and yellow fever are on the increase among Irish holidaymakers.

The Tropical Medical Bureau has seen a 35% increase in patients being treated for the conditions on similar figures from last year.

Dr Graham Fry from the TMB said: "It is of vital importance that would-be travellers investigate the vaccination recommendations of their chosen destination well in advance of travel as most need to be administered up to six weeks prior to departure."

Here are the 10 most common tropical diseases recorded by TMB centres across Ireland this year.

MALARIA

MALARIA is a common disease in tropical and sub-tropical areas, affecting 125 million international travellers every year.

The disease is caused by mosquitos who spread the infection when feeding on human blood.

Ireland has seen a 300% increase in malaria cases over the past decade.

People travelling through a number of destinations are at higher risk.

YELLOW FEVER

THIS is a viral disease that has caused large epidemics in Africa and the Americas. Symptoms can vary from mild, flu-like symptoms to severe illness and even death.

Like malaria, yellow fever can also be transmitted by mosquito bites.

Yellow fever vaccine is safe and highly effective. Immunity occurs within one week for 95% of people vaccinated.

TYPHOID

TYPHOID is a bacterial disease transmitted by the consumption of contaminated food and water.

It is highly contagious and requires immediate medical attention.

The disease is most prevalent in parts of India and other tropical areas. Symptoms include fever, headaches, diarrhoea and slowing of heart rate.

CHOLERA

THIS bacterial disease is also spread through consuming contaminated food or water.

It can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

The cholera vaccine is widely available and comes in the form of a pleasant-tasting drink as opposed to an injection.

TETANUS

THERE are thought to be more than one million deaths caused by tetanus each year.

It is caused by a bacteria and there are a number of ways you can get it - through bites, open wounds, cuts from infected metal, contaminated food and water.

Symptoms include muscle pain, spasms, neck pain, sore throat, loss of appetite, rapid heart rate and fluctuating blood pressure.

It can also lead to respiratory failure and, in some cases, death.

The tetanus vaccine is highlyeffective and most adults only require one dose.

DIPHTHERIA

DIPHTHERIA is a bacterial infection spread from person to person.

The disease causes inflammation of the respiratory tract, which in turn leads to breathing difficulties.

If left untreated it can lead to serious illness and even death.

The diphtheria vaccine is usually combined with the tetanus vaccine when being administered to travellers.

JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS

JAPANESE encephalitis is a viral infection spread by a certain type of mosquito.

It is most prevalent in South Asia and people who intend to spend more than a month in a jungle environment are encouraged to get the vaccine.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and flu-like symptoms.

POLIO

POLIO is a viral infection still prevalent in Africa and South-East Asia. It affects the nervous system and is spread from person to person.

In 90% of cases, people infected with polio show no symptoms.

But if left untreated it can result in nerve damage and paralysis.

HEPATITIS A

HEPATITIS A poses a serious risk to those travelling to the tropics.

If infected with the disease, patients can expect to be off work for up to two months.

It can be contracted by consuming contaminated food and drink.

Although most Western countries do not pose a risk, Hepatitis A is common in the developing world.

Vaccination against the disease has a high success rate.

RABIES

RABIES is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected animal.

In many cases, people show no signs until the final days of the disease.

Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, anxiety, headaches and numbness at the original area of the bite. A vaccine is recommended to anyone planning to travel to an affected area.

IF you are considering a holiday to a tropical location, visit www.tmb.ie for advice.

CAPTION(S):

FATAL Dog bite can give you rabies DEATH'S DOOR Cheryl had malaria BLOODY NUISANCE Mosquitos can carry bacteria and spread it from person to person
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 30, 2010
Words:774
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