The main travel season of the year has already started in many places. Airports have long been packed to the breaking point with vacationers already dreaming of dreamy tropical beaches, exotic cocktails, and faraway countries. However, travel time always means sick time. It is not uncommon for one’s immune system to be overwhelmed when traveling. Stress at airports, crowds, harsh weather conditions, and unknown culinary experiments have forced many travelers to stay in bed at their vacation destination. A well-stocked first aid kit is therefore essential for the travel season.
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But those traveling to distant countries need not only worry about indigestion. Local health conditions sometimes differ substantially from those in your own country. In tropical destinations there are other pathogens and sometimes unknown vectors that tourists do not see at first glance as a potential source of danger. So that you can recognize the symptoms of typical local diseases early and act accordingly on your next long-distance trip, we present some diseases that can be transmitted by insects in the travel countries.
These diseases are transmitted by insects
1. Dengue fever
Üoverview: Mosquito-borne dengue fever is a viral disease. Yellow fever transmitting mosquitoes or tiger mosquitoes grow up to 10 millimeters in size and can be recognized by the pointed back. With 96 million infections per year, dengue fever is the most common insect-borne disease. People can get sick with dengue multiple times, in fact the second condition has been reported to bring with it more severe symptoms.
Symptoms: Dengue fever infections are often asymptomatic. If there are signs of illness, which are sometimes more serious if you fall ill again after surviving the initial infection, flu symptoms appear. In addition to fever, headache and chills, there are also muscle aches and clouding of consciousness.
Areas at risk: Tropics and subtropics, especially in urban areas with dense human settlements.
Üoverview: Malaria is probably the best known insect-borne disease. It is transmitted only by the malaria mosquito. Mosquitoes differ from conventional mosquitoes in their physical structure. They have a body tilted 45 degrees downward with the head at the lowest point. Malaria is not caused by viruses, but by single-celled parasites that are transmitted by mosquitoes when they bite. If recognized in time, the disease can be treated well with anti-parasitic drugs.
Symptoms: There are several forms of the disease, depending on the type of parasitic agent. The general symptoms of all forms of malaria are high fever, feeling unwell, weakness, headache, body aches, but sometimes also diarrhea and vomiting. The main signs are fever attacks. Depending on the type of disease, flare-ups can occur at regular intervals every day, every two days, or every three days.
Areas at risk: The entire tropical and subtropical space. The risk is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia and the Western Pacific.
3. Japanese encephalitis
Üoverview: Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by the common mosquito. Transmission by encephalitis virus-carrying mosquitoes can occur throughout Asia. In Asia, children are particularly susceptible to virus-borne encephalitis. A vaccine has been approved in Germany since 2009. If you are planning longer or repeated short stays in risk areas, speak to your GP to clarify if vaccination makes sense for you.
Symptoms: In the vast majority of cases, encephalitis is asymptomatic or very mild. However, severe encephalitis can also occur, manifesting in the form of fever, headache, stiff neck, motor disturbances, cramps, and blurred consciousness. If symptoms are severe, be sure to see a doctor to begin symptomatic treatment.
Areas at risk: Asia, especially in rural areas and during the rainy season and shortly thereafter