Adventure travellers going 'off trail' are warned to check their vaccinations are up-to-date after a rise in reported incidents of infectious diseases, such as polio and TB, at popular holiday destinations, says backpacker travel specialist Alphatravelinsurance.co.uk
Recent health warnings in Israel that the polio virus is spreading within its sewage system has kickstarted a nationwide vaccination drive this month. This is a cause for concern, as Israel is a popular summer stopover for longstay travellers, heading for the beaches or a kibbutz experience while on a global backpacking tour.
However Israel is not the only region that can pose a serious health risk to travellers, climate change is causing mosquito numbers to increase and migrate to regions where malaria outbreaks were traditionally low. Safari destinations like Tanzania have seen an increase in the number of reported cases of malaria, coupled with a rise in the number of infections of Dengue fever in Singapore, where in June 2013 had a record 840 cases in a single week!
Alphatravelinsurance.co.uk said: "Malaria is on the increase with high profile celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and footballer Didier Drogba contracting the disease and hitting the headlines. However other mosquito-related infectious diseases such as Dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis have been active this year.
"Many people had vaccinations in childhood or for previous trips but forget that boosters are needed throughout their adult life in order to maintain their effectiveness. It is always advisable to talk to a reputable clinic to understand what you will need when travelling to exotic destinations. Mefloquine, a malaria prevention and treatment drug, has been linked to psychotic episodes and there have been reported incidents of severe cases where policyholders with no previous history were detained in primitive hospitals in third world countries as they appeared to be having mental breakdowns and it proved to be very difficult indeed to get them home again.
She added: "Even getting measles, mumps or rubella can ruin a holiday as you will not be allowed to board a plane in case you are considered to be infectious. When planning a longstay or backpacking trip, make sure vaccinations that are offered here in the UK are taken. Not everyone does and not everyone realises that polio and TB are alive and dangerously thriving in many parts of the world."
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