Travelers to FIFA World Cup should take health precautions: NPOMay 25th, 2010 - 6:41 am ICT by BNO News
DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS (BNO NEWS) – People traveling to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa should take precautions to avoid disease transmission, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene said Monday.
A new study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene says visitors who plan attending the World Cup should worry less about ‘exotic’ tropical diseases such as malaria, and concentrate on protecting themselves from a wide range of more common travel-related diseases, such as acute diarrheal illness, sexually transmitted diseases, febrile illnesses, insect and tick bites, and vaccine-preventable infections, especially influenza and measles.
Researchers analyzed data collected from a global network of tropical medicine/travel clinics over a 13-year period, analyzing illnesses among individuals who traveled to South Africa. The analysis of ill patients showed that systemic febrile illness (diseases characterized by fever), dermatologic (skin) conditions, and acute diarrheal illness were most common.
African Tick Bite Fever, an infection acquired from tick bites in travelers engaged in outdoor pursuits, like hiking and hunting in bush areas of the country, was the most common diagnosis in travelers with fever after returning from South Africa, which is outside of the African yellow fever zone.
However, South Africa is also in the midst of an ongoing measles epidemic with over 9,500 confirmed cases since the beginning of 2009. World Cup visitors are advised to ensure that they are vaccinated against measles if not already immune.
“While we are pleased that the study findings indicate that South Africa is a relatively safe place to visit from a health perspective, the results of the study highlight the importance of individuals traveling to South Africa taking proper precautions,” Professor Marc Mendelson, head of Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine at University of Cape Town, said.
“While the risk of acquiring a tropical disease in urban areas of South Africa is low, we encourage all travelers to consult with their physician to ensure they have the proper immunizations and have taken the necessary self-prevention measures prior to their trip to the World Cup,” he added.
Every four years, the International Federation of Association Football, commonly known as FIFA, organizes the largest mass gathering for a single sport, and this 2010 edition, South Africa will be hosting the event, which takes place from June 11 to July 11. Nearly 350,000 international visitors are expected.
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Tags: american journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, american society of tropical medicine and hygiene, bush areas, deerfield illinois, diarrheal illness, disease transmission, febrile illnesses, fifa world cup, health perspective, health precautions, hiv medicine, professor marc, systemic febrile illness, tick bite fever, tick bites, travel clinics, tropical diseases, tropical medicine and hygiene, vaccine preventable, yellow fever