Visitors to China warned of respiratory illnesses, dog bites

July 31st, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 31 (IANS) Medical experts have warned some 600,000 travellers and athletes who will be in China for the Olympics to be wary of respiratory illnesses and dog bites. Dog bites in humans can lead to rabies. The report finds that respiratory illnesses and dog bites are more common than contracting exotic diseases.

Other common ailments seen while being in China were diarrhoea, sprains and strains, and skin conditions such as eczema and insect stings.

The report would act as an advisory for travellers to Beijing next month. It also assists travel medicine experts and clinics around the world to better advise their patients about prevention during pre-travel visits and consultations.

“People tend to let their guard down and not use common sense while travelling, many times not considering they may be putting their health at risk,” said Phyllis Kozarsky, professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Emory University School of Medicine.

The report analysed health outcomes associated with travel over the past 10 years to China and two other regions of Asia - Southeast Asia and India.

The data were collected by more than 40 tropical medicine clinics worldwide, all part of the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network. The surveillance network, supported by the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, US, records health trends associated with travel to foreign destinations.

The report found that respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma were the primary diagnoses of those seeking medical care, and the main cause of hospitalisation while travelling in China.

Dog bites and diarrhoea were the most frequent complaints for travellers receiving post-travel care back at home. There were only a few cases of exotic diseases diagnosed during the 10-year period.

These findings have been published in the July issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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