Health is the utmost matter of concern when traveling. You might think that your body has already been accustomed to the assaults of all kinds of bacteria and fungi, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Diseases can vary from continent to continent, and even from country to country, so it is important you have your vaccines updated before travelling there. In those that follow, we will present the countries where it’s most likely to get a disease, places known for having global health risks.
China is one of the most fascinating touristic destinations one can go to; to Europeans and Americans alike, it is almost a world of its own, a surreal, alien-like location full of pompous mythology and bewitching traditions. With all these, China is a melting pot for a horrible brew of diseases. Yellow fever (cause by mosquito bites) Malaria, Hepatitis A and E, Rift Valley fever, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever are just a few of the illnesses one can get when travelling to China. All of these can be fatal if left untreated and are enough to put China in the top countries with the highest risk of getting a disease. If you need more arguments, some places there are still associated with plague, the catastrophic disease that swept Europe in the middle ages and killed more than 25 million people in 5 years.
Africa’s poor sanitation system has made it a far from desirable touristic attraction. Typhoid fever, meningitis, tuberculosis and cholera have been endemic in parts of Africa for years on end. Typhoid fever and tuberculosis still rage there nowadays. Although tuberculosis is treatable (it used to be an irrefutable death-sentence), it can still be fatal, just like meningitis and cholera. The biggest health concern when travelling to Liberia is the Ebola virus, which appeared there in 2014 and it was contained just to spike again in 2015. Ebola is untreatable and is deadly in almost every case. When in Liberia, try not to drink local or tap water, since it can borne many diseases. Consume only bottled water.
Although it doesn’t look like the place where you could get a nasty disease, unfortunately it actually is. The most prevalent of them all is TD (traveler’s diarrhea), which affects over 10 million people each year. It is not fatal, but it certainly isn’t pleasant either. Malaria is present, too, in Latin America. It is treatable, but severely life-threatening nonetheless. Recently, the presence of the famed Zika fever has been reported in Brazil. The Zika is caused by mosquito bites and if it develops complications, it can be deadly. The main problem is that it spreads to the fetuses of pregnant women, causing brain malformations like microcephaly, which stops the proper development of the brain.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent Ebola outburst in Nigeria. Ebola has become the world’s blackest nightmare since it was first discovered in 1976 in South Sudan. It has reached 5 other countries in the past few years and because there is no treatment or vaccine as of yet, the fatality rate of this disease is 90%. The symptoms are spiking fever, external and internal bleeding, vomiting, as well as the onset of rashes on the body and diarrhea. It is highly contagious, spreading through infected blood, semen or saliva. Meningitis is sheltered cozily in Nigeria, as well as HIV. The number of people infected with HIV is tremendous, making Nigeria a place where this disease is endemic, with the second largest number of people infected in the world.
One of the most encountered diseases one can get when travelling to the Philippines is schistosomiasis, produced by parasitic worms that shelter in your bloodstream. It is often deadly if left untreated. It claims the lives of approximately 200.000 people in Africa on a yearly basis. Other diseases you can catch in the Philippines are typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria and hepatitis A. Healthcare in the Philippines is extremely expensive, especially in the aftermath of numerous earthquakes and tsunamis that have ravaged the country. This is why you should take all the precautions and make sure you don’t have to spend your vacation in a hospital there.
South Asia is ridden with many diseases that can affect the health of the tourists. In India, leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that can develop into meningitis and lung-bleeding), cholera, typhoid fever and malaria are serious matters of concern. As if it weren’t enough, India is the place where you can get any type of hepatitis, from A to E. Brucellosis, filariasis, tuberculosis and influenza make the list too. India was also faced with Avian Flu (better known as H5N1). It can be fatal if contacted by humans because it produces respiratory failure. Just like anywhere else in the world, HIV can be caught if one has unprotected sexual relations. STDs are everywhere, not just in India so be cautious.
Besides being singed by seemingly never-ending conflicts, which downgrade it instantly from the list of touristic attractions, Afghanistan is home to shigella (an infection that can end up in arthritis), pneumonia, west Nile virus, leishmaniasis (a visceral or cutaneous infection), brucellosis, Q fever (bacterial disease that can cause inflammation of the heart) and malaria, among others. Many of these diseases where carried by soldiers back to America or Russia, so you can well imagine you can get them too as a tourist.
As you can see, each of these places bears its own share of often lethal diseases, placing them in the top countries with the highest risk of getting a disease. The prevalence of these illnesses is either due to unknown treatments or simply poor sanitation system, as it is the case in most African countries. The simplest way of avoiding catching one of these is to get your vaccines before leaving for those places we mentioned. Hygiene, too, plays an important role.