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Tourists Face Health Risks by Missing Vaccinations

by Medindia Content Team on July 6, 2006 at 4:35 PM
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Tourists Face Health Risks by Missing Vaccinations

According to a new survey millions of British tourists face several health risks are risking their health by not taking their vaccinations or anti malaria pills before they go abroad.

The study has revealed that around three million people have visited tropical countries on holiday over the last five years without taking the recommended vaccination.

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Although malaria has claimed over a million lives worldwide each year, 16 per cent of British tourists who have visited countries where the disease is prevalent in the last five years, did not take anti malaria pills, with 12 per cent stopping taking them while still in that country.

The survey was conducted on more than 2,200 adults and a widespread ignorance of the necessity of taking medical precautions when visiting tropical countries was revealed.
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It was found that seventeen per cent of people who did not take vaccinations nor had their child vaccinated were unaware of its need in the first place, with about 15 percent of people who have been on a tropical holiday failing to properly find out what precautions they should take before they left.

In fact 25 per cent of such people who neither took precautions or who stopped taking them while still in a malarial area did so because they felt they would not catch the disease. Complacency also seems to be a factor governing such actions in the Britons'.

21 per cent admit they decided to take their chances while another 21 per cent claimed that they simply did not believe they would catch a disease. !6 percent considered it pointless to take medication because of the brevity of their visit.

Some of the surprising aspects of this survey was the fact that 19 percent of these were experienced travellers and who therefore claimed that they knew how to avoid becoming ill.

Although the majority of holidaymakers claimed that they would prefer to be brought home for treatment in the event of their falling ill about nine percent of those who have been on a tropical holiday have not taken out travel insurance.

The most worrying factor was that the areas most commonly visited by travellers who do not take the recommended vaccinations are all high risk malaria zones according to the World Health Organisation including Africa, South East Asia and the Asian subcontinent.

According to Direct Line Travel Insurance spokesman Chris Price, 'The last decade has seen a steady increase in travel to Asia, Africa and South America - destinations where serious diseases, including malaria, are common.'

'Despite this, or maybe because of it, people are effectively gambling with their health. It is incredibly easy to contract malaria and the early symptoms can often be mistaken for flu.'

'According to the Department of Health, almost 2,000 people return to the UK with malaria each year, and an average of nine people die from the disease.'

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