Tag: Travel Disease

Headed to Angkor Wat? Beware the Dengue.

World Travel Watch notes that, although dengue fever cases in Cambodia are down from last year, “the risk is still high in major tourist areas, especially Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat.” Dengue, of course, is spread by mosquitos that are no doubt loving monsoon season in Southeast Asia. How I hate monsoon season. As we’ve noted, dengue is expected to rise around the world as temperatures increase, and dengue should be taken seriously: The less common hemorrhagic dengue can be fatal.

Would You Pay a $1 Tax on Travel to the Caribbean to Fund Disease Control?

That’s what the editor of the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases proposes. Such a tax—“less than the cost of a single piña colada!”—would go toward fighting neglected tropical diseases, which are a “high burden” in the region.

Dengue Epidemic Hits Tourism in Rio

Since January, more than 70,000 people have been infected with dengue fever in the Brazilian state of Rio. At least 80 people have died. Now, the growing health crisis is “taking a toll on tourism,” reports the International Herald Tribune. A number of foreign embassies have warned citizens about the outbreak, including the U.S. Embassy.

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Dengue Fever, Revisited

The Los Angeles Times revisits the rise of dengue fever in Mexico and beyond, casting travel as a primary culprit in its spread: “Thus far, cases of dengue fever in North America have tended to be scattered and affect relatively few people. But increased travel to and from South America, where a resurgence has made dengue widespread, is thought to be boosting the disease’s spread northward. And some experts suspect climate change is aggravating the problem.” Meanwhile, Dengue Fever—the band—continues its ascent, spreading infectious “Cambodian pop rock psychedelic dance party” music throughout the globe.

Tall, Short Travelers at Greater Risk for Thrombosis

The World Health Organization announced Friday that long-haul travelers’ risk of developing deep vein thrombosis doubles after flights or ground trips in which they’re seated for four hours or more. At greater risk of developing blood clots, according to a study cited by the WHO, are very tall people with cramped leg room—yes, one more reason to love economy class—very short people whose legs don’t reach the floor, the obese and women who take birth control pills. The chances of developing thrombosis are low: roughly one in 6,000 long-haul travelers.

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Deadly Dengue on the Rise in Mexico

Photo by ÇP, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Mexican officials are concerned about an alarming rise in dengue fever—cases have risen 600 percent in the country since 2001—and they recently dispatched teams to coastal resorts to spray pesticides and clear pockets of standing water where mosquitoes multiply. It’s “one of the primordial public health problems the country faces,” one Mexican health official told the AP.

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‘Paris Syndrome’: The New York City Strain?

Photo: denmar, via flickr (Creative Commons).

The New York Post had some fun with a recent story about Japanese tourists in France who succumb to Paris Syndrome. The paper titled its piece Paris Leaves Japanese French Fried. Now the New Yorker’s Lauren Collins is on the case, wondering if there’s a New York City version of the syndrome that leaves travelers to the City of Light overwhelmed and in need of psychological treatment. An officer at the Japanese Consulate “does not believe in the existence of Paris syndrome, or, for that matter, a New York strain,” Collins writes, but she does report that Japanese visitors to the Big Apple do have certain traits.

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The Norovirus Strikes Again

Cruisers didn’t take the hit this time. Hotel guests in Virginia did. From the Associated Press: “The Hilton hotel near Dulles International Airport has been closed for a top-to-bottom scrubbing after more than 100 guests were sickened by the highly contagious norovirus.” The norovirus notoriously plagues cruise ships.

Talking Malaria in Washington

Seriously. Reports the AP: “Declaring that malaria can be defeated, President Bush on Thursday added eight countries to a U.S. initiative aimed at combatting the disease in Africa and slashing its mortality rate by half in targeted nations.” Ghana, pictured, is among the eight nations. Malaria kills roughly a million Africans each year, many of them under five.

Japanese Tourists Succumb to ‘Paris Syndrome’

Or, as the New York Post headline goes, “Paris Leaves Japanese French Fried.” Funny headline for an amusing story—amusing, at least, for everyone but the Japanese travelers who get “Paris Syndrome.” The Post and Reuters, among others, are relaying a story from the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, which claims that “a dozen Japanese tourists a year need psychological treatment after visiting Paris as the reality of unfriendly locals and scruffy streets clashes with their expectations.” Paris Syndrome was first reported in 2004 in a psychiatric journal. According to AA Gill, there is a cure. He writes in the Times: “The cure is called Rome, though there are side effects: it’s very addictive.”

Report: Passenger on Virgin Atlantic Flight Had Ebola Virus

The Mirror reports that a 38-year-old passenger on a flight from Johannesburg to London suffered a “violent fit” and subsequently died from the deadly Ebola virus. “Virgin Atlantic cabin crew who came into contact with the woman have been told to monitor their health,” writes Stephen Moyes. “One said: ‘We are now terrified what we may have caught.’”

Air Passengers May Be Responsible for Mumps Outbreak

Two travelers who flew on nine different flights on Northwest Airlines and American Airlines during late March and early April may be responsible for a mumps outbreak in the Midwest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Health authorities are asking those who flew on the flights to see a doctor if they begin showing signs of the disease. A Reuters report has all the details about which flights were affected and what symptoms to look for.

Beware of Foreign Accent Syndrome!

At first I thought it might be another of Gadling’s April Fool’s Day posts, but, oh, it’s real. Too real. Last night I saw on ABC’s Primetime how Foreign Accent Syndrome almost ripped apart at least one Michigan family, making a child cry for a good few seconds, when his mother woke up speaking not with her usual Midwestern accent but with one that made her sound vaguely like a Russian transplant. According to a BBC article from a few years back, it is a real condition.

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Do We Really Need to Worry About Toothbrush Germs When We Travel?

Every so often, you see people hyping products designed to fight germs or bacteria while traveling, such as portable toothbrush sanitizers. I suspect I dislike germs as much as the next guy, but I’m skeptical of the need for such products. In all my travels, I don’t think my toothbrush has ever made me sick. So I was happy to see USA Today’s Jayne Clark ask the experts about a range of products, from a portable toothbrush sanitizer to an airline seat cover, aimed at fretful travelers.

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Bird Flu Isn’t Hurting Asia Travel

Back in October, we noted that small numbers of Westerners were changing their Asia travel plans because of concerns over avian flu. (Some, for example, had decided to avoid rural areas in Southeast Asia.) Three months later, the travel industry is thriving in Asia as the Lunar New Year approaches, according to the AP. Said one travel company director in Vietnam, “According to the figures from hotels, they’ve never known such a high occupancy rate.”

The World Takes on Malaria

Unless you visit the tropics, it’s easy to forget that malaria kills more than a million people every year and sickens more than a few travelers. This week, the public radio show The World is broadcasting a five-part series on malaria. It’s wide-ranging and worth a listen.

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World Tourism Organization Warns of Avian Flu “Scaremongering”

Watching CNN’s coverage of the spread of avian flu is enough to make you want to crawl under the sheets and hide. Now, the World Tourism Organization is warning media and government officials to “act responsibly” in reporting on the avian flu, noting that “unnecessary scaremongering can cause a sharp drop in tourism that squeezes the economies, especially those of developing nations and the incomes of millions of workers in this industry.”

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Avian Flu Begins to Affect Travel Plans

I’d been wondering when we’d start hearing about avian flu fears affecting travel. USA Today offers an account today, noting that some travelers are reconsidering visits to outdoor bazaars and rural areas of Southeast Asia. “It’s just not necessary for me to put myself in a possible situation with this illness,” said traveler Mark Fridkin, who now plans to skip a visit to the Thai countryside. There’s nothing earth-shaking in the story, just a post-SARS here-we-go-again feeling. Among other anecdotes: “The Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. has seen an uptick in requests for Tamiflu, which might be effective against the avian flu, from travelers bound for Southeast Asia.”

Experts: Hep A and B Vaccines Good for Life

There’s good news for those of us who’ve suffered through a series of shots to prevent Hepatitis A and B: A panel of experts recently concluded that the vaccines should be good for life. Reports Reuters: “A single course of hepatitis A and B vaccine is enough to protect most healthy travelers from contracting these infections, and current evidence suggests this protection is lifelong, a team of travel medicine experts concludes.”

Forget the Anti-Inflammatories. Take Two Vacations (or Even One) and Call Me in the Morning.

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site before your trip abroad and, after inspecting the long list of horrifying maladies you could contract while away, you just might decide to stay home. But an article in Outpost Magazine points out what many know intuitively: More often than not, travel is good for your health. Sure, you need to beware of potential dangers and get your shots. But beyond that, getting away from work to travel can cure all sorts of maladies and prevent new conditions from arising.

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