Top 5 countries for travellers’ diarrhoea
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed the top five countries where travellers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland are most likely to acquire gastrointestinal infection following their visit. The countries named were Egypt, India, Thailand, Pakistan, and Morocco.
According to the report half of the 24,322 laboratory confirmed cases of gastrointestinal infection reported in those who had recently travelled abroad between 2004 and 2008 were caused by Salmonella. The report also tracked reports of Campylobacter and Shigella and organisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
The HPA outlined a number of factors than can affect a person’s risk of acquiring traveller’s diarrhoea while abroad:
1. Destination of visit. Although gastrointestinal infections occur worldwide, some are more common in countries or areas where there is a lack of sanitation and access to clean water. The world can be divided into three different risk zones for risk of travellers diarrhea.
HPA lists Western Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as “low risk” countries. Southern Europe, Israel, South Africa, some Caribbean islands and the Pacific are considered “medium risk.” Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and most parts of Asia are considered “high risk”
2. Hygiene standards at accommodation (including swimming pools)
3. Hygiene standards at eating establishments
4. The personal hygiene of the traveller and the individual’s health or susceptibility to infection – underlying ill health or certain illnesses may increase the risk of infection and make illness more severe.