UK based medical travel insurance provider GetGoing have named Kenya as a hotspot for travellers contracting sickness, with the East African nation on the risk list for as many as five travel-related illnesses, including Malaria and Dengue, resulting in travel insurance claims as high as £11,746.
In total, more than 216 million people have contracted the deadly Malaria virus while abroad, and diarrhoea affects 30 per cent of travellers, with countries including India and Kenya among the highest risk locations.
Along with India and Kenya, Thailand, Peru and Indonesia were categorised as ‘high risk’ with Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba and Egypt labelled as locations with an ‘intermediate risk’.
The most common travel bugs
Travel-related illnesses can include everything from the most common conditions of diarrhoea, sunburn and motion sickness, but according to the insurance provider, travellers to African countries can contract the following conditions:
- Dengue: symptoms of the virus include high fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting.
- Malaria: transmitted through the bite of a mosquito resulting in symptoms much the same as Dengue.
- Typhoid fever: caused by ingestion of food or water that is contaminated.
- Hepatitis A: typically transmitted through food or water contaminated by human faeces, symptoms include jaundice, loss of appetite, fever and nausea. Travellers are most at risk of Hepatitis A in developing countries.
- Yellow fever: caused by mosquito bites, yellow fever induces jaundice, bleeding and internal organ damage.
Tourists eating contaminated food is one of the main sources of illnesses, with under cooked or unwashed foods contributing to illnesses like diarrhoea.
Contaminated water and ice can also put travellers at risk of contracting diseases such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid fever, cholera and diarrhoea, and while many believe freezing the water will kill the bacteria, doing so actually preserves it.
Poor sanitation is another high risk and travellers are advised to steer clear of tap water and ice in drinks to avoid disease in risky locations where there are open sewers and a lack of clean water.
Travellers should also be wary of insect bites when abroad, particularly mosquitoes which result in more than one million deaths every year, and avoid Malaria and Dengue danger zones.
Tourists are always advised to visit their doctor prior to travelling to ensure vaccinations are up to date.