Travel Sickness: 6 Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling - The Life of StuffWhen travelling to different countries, you need to be wary of foreign diseases. Such diseases could be lethal and could be contracted through anything from an insect bite to accidentally drinking unclean water. Fortunately, in most cases, you can take precautions to stop you getting ill. Below are 6 examples of diseases that you need to be aware of when travelling and what you can do to protect yourself.

Travel Sickness: 6 Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #1


Malaria can be caught in many places around the world including much of Africa, South America and Southern Asia. It is passed via mosquitoes and produces severe flu-like symptoms that can often be fatal. Taking anti-malarial tablets prescribed at a medical centre is the best way to reduce the risk of contracting malaria. It is also advised that you take precautions against mosquito bites such as wearing mosquito repellent and sleeping in beds with mosquito nets.

  • ‘The highest transmission is found in Africa South of the Sahara and in parts of Oceania such as Papua New Guinea.’

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #2


Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that infects the lungs. It is often passed through coughing or by breathing the same air as someone with TB. You can catch TB all around the world, but most cases occur in Africa and South East Asia. This disease can be fatal if you catch it. Fortunately, you can easily immunise yourself by taking a BCG vaccine. Many people get this vaccine when they are young. If you haven’t, it could be worth looking into.

  • ‘The eight countries ranked in order from first to last in terms of numbers of cases, and that accounted for about two thirds of global cases in 2022, are India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.’

Further Reading: 4 Quick Tips on How to Stay Safe While Travelling

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #3


Typhoid is a deadly disease that is caught by drinking contaminated water or eating food washed in contaminated water. Symptoms include a progressively worsening fever, sickness, constipation/diarrhoea and skin rashes. Typhoid cases occur around the world, but are most common in Southern Africa and Southern Asia. It’s possible to get vaccinated against typhoid, although you may also be able to avoid getting infected by sticking to bottled water and being careful where you eat.

  • ‘Typhoid Infectious Agent: Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. Endemicity: Africa, Latin America and Asia (greatest risk for infection is in South Asia)’

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling - Hoedspruit, South Africa
Hoedspruit, South Africa

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #4

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is similar to malaria in that it is transmitted via mosquitoes and causes fever symptoms. Those suffering from yellow fever also typically develop jaundice (yellow skin) from which the disease gets its name. Yellow fever mostly occurs in South America, but can also be caught in several countries in central Africa. Using mosquito repellant and sleeping under a mosquito net may stop you contracting this virus, while a vaccination can also help.

  • Yellow Fever ‘… is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America.
    Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination.’

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #5

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is another virus spread through mosquitoes. It’s unlike other mosquito-transmitted diseases mentioned above because it doesn’t always display symptoms or negatively affect everyone. However, some who are infected can get nasty symptoms including a fever, body aches, nausea and rashes – which can lead to death.

Dengue fever is found in many tropical countries, including many popular tourist destinations like the Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, India and Thailand. While there is a vaccine for dengue fever, it is not easily accessible in many countries. Your best method of protection is mosquito repellent and mosquito nets.

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling - Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Diseases To Watch Out For When Travelling #6


Rabies is passed through animal saliva – which most commonly involves bites from stray dogs. It’s a viral infection that affects the brain causing a fever, seizures, trouble swallowing and general confusion. It often results in death. Rabies is most commonly found in Asia and Africa, although it can be found all around the world, and so it’s well deserved of place here on our ‘diseases to watch out for when travelling’ list.

To prevent yourself catching rabies, avoid touching animals (especially stray dogs). A rabies vaccination is also an option  – which is especially advised if you are working with animals abroad.

  • Rabies ‘is present in over 150 countries and territories across the globe. Up to 95% of human deaths occur in Africa and Asia where dog rabies is poorly controlled and disproportionately affects poor rural communities where control programmes and access to appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is limited or non-existent.’

Photos by Ronald Langeveld

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