There are all sorts of weird and wonderful diseases in the world of travel to be aware of, although thankfully you can generally take care of yourself with basic hygiene and making sure you are vaccinated against certain diseases that are prevalent to areas you intend traveling to.

Most people travel without serious health problems, but being especially careful of the food you eat and your hygiene when visiting the tropics is recommended. Also make sure you take out good travel insurance. The following are some of the more serious diseases to be aware of:

Cholera: prevalent in parts of India, South and Central America, and Mexico, it is an acute intestinal infection which is caused after eating or drinking bacterium-infected water. Cholera can eventually result in death through water loss.

Dengue fever: also known as breakbone fever, this painful viral disease is transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions.

Diphtheria: is a rare bacterial disease which causes a sore throat and fever quickly once infected and can be life-threatening. The Td vaccine prevents diphtheria.

Encephalitis: is the inflammation of the brain caused by a virus, where symptoms include drowsiness and nausea, headache and neck pain, and fever.

Hepatitis: there are two hepatitis infections, type A and type B. Hepatitis A, also infectious hepatitis, is the most serious and common of the two and is contracted by ingesting infected food or fluids. It is found worldwide. Hepatitis B, also called serum hepatitis, is usually spread through sexual contact in the blood and semen, and can have similar symptoms to type A. It is most common in Asia and Africa.

Meningococcal meningitis: the surrounding membrane of the brain and spinal chord swells when infected by this disease - a bacterial infection – signified by a headache, stiff neck, nausea, and fever.

Yellow fever: is a viral disease prevalent in parts of South America, the Panama Canal, and Africa. The disease is transmitted from person to person in urban areas and from animals to humans through mosquito bites.

Rift Valley fever: is a common viral infection in Africa which is transmitted by mosquitoes that have first bitten infected animals.

Japanese encephalitis: an Asian disease spread through infected mosquitoes which affects the central nervous system and can cause death.

Chagas disease: American sleeping sickness is in Central and South America and Brazil and is contracted after being bitten by an infected assassin bug. It can be fatal but is mainly prevalent in slum areas.

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