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There are many diseases found or originating in tropical countries and these can sometimes lead to epidemics.

Diarrhea is one of the most common illnesses. It can occur on its own, as a result of drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. Cholera is a diarrheal illness that can prove fatal. Its symptoms are vomiting and severe diarrhea. If you eat or drink something which has been handled by a contaminated person, you can contract the disease. If you are not treated for it, it will almost certainly kill you. However, when recognised, it is easily treated by replacing lost fluides with clean water mixed with sugar and salt.

Malaria is another fatal disease and it kills mostly children. It is contracted by mosquito bites so a good preventative measure would be to use an insect repellant cream. If after you have been to a tropical country you get flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor immediately and inform him of where you have been.

Tuberculosis has been increasing in the past few years. It is highly contagious so if you cough up blood or experience chest pain and fever, consult your GP. It is important that you are vaccined against it.

Diphtheria is another contagious infection that usually affects the throat. You can get it by touching an infected person or drinking contaminated milk. It will give you difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Again, make sure you are vaccined against it.

If you are planning on taking a vacation in the tropics take anti-malarial tablets and get vaccined against typoid, hepatitis A as well as the above mentioned diseases. Tropical diseases are often fatal in tropical countries because of poor health care, poverty and contamination. However, in developed countries, most diseases are easily treated.

Always check with your doctor at least one month prior to your trip to see what you need to do.