Jun 22, 2009

Travel Healthy: Handling Mosquitoes and Other Bugs - The Green Guide

On a recent trip to Vietnam, I reluctantly found myself looking for malaria medication in the best "pharmacy" available, a bare room full of unmarked jars of pills down one of Ho Chi Minh City's back alleys. Luckily, neither the pills nor malaria got to me. However, poor planning can pose a threat not only to one's health but also to that of the ecosystems we visit.

While protecting against food-borne illness is your first line of defense, other diseases await unwary travelers. Take care when swimming, as schistosomiasis, carried by parasitic worms, and "swimmer's itch," or cercarial dermatitis, carried by microscopic parasites, are common in freshwater in parts of the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia. Malaria-bearing mosquitoes, endemic in West Africa and South Asia, infect 300 to 500 million people worldwide annually, while mosquitoes in Southeast Asia carry dengue fever and those in Africa and South America carry yellow fever. U.S. travel isn't risk-free either; mosquito-borne West Nile Virus claimed 165 U.S. lives in 2006, not to mention rodent-borne hantavirus and tick-transported Lyme disease.

Read full article here: Travel Healthy: Handling Mosquitoes and Other Bugs - The Green Guide

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