These Infections Are Dangerous: The Immunologist Told What Diseases Can Be Brought From Africa

These Infections Are Dangerous: The Immunologist Told What Diseases Can Be Brought From Africa
These Infections Are Dangerous: The Immunologist Told What Diseases Can Be Brought From Africa

Video: These Infections Are Dangerous: The Immunologist Told What Diseases Can Be Brought From Africa

Video: These Infections Are Dangerous: The Immunologist Told What Diseases Can Be Brought From Africa
Video: 2018 Demystifying Medicine: Emerging Infections and Removing Agents from the Blood Supply 2023, June

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the travel industry hard, and has opened up new destinations as well. So, the flow of tourists to the previously not the most popular Tanzania and to the island of Zanzibar has increased several times. How safe rest in the country of "eternal summer" is, "Evening Moscow" learned from the immunologist, candidate of medical sciences Nikolai Kryuchkov.


Outbreaks of various infections in Africa are recorded almost every year, and with a high mortality rate. A few days ago, seven cases of Ebola infection were reported in Guinea, of which three were fatal. And in Tanzania, 15 deaths from an unknown disease were recorded. At the same time, 50 more patients with dizziness, nausea and bloody vomiting are in local hospitals. However, experts have not yet been able to understand whether people died due to infection or for another reason.

According to Kryuchkov, the African continent is ambiguous in terms of the spread of any diseases. There are quite a few countries there, and they differ in both the standard of living and the epidemic situation. Sometimes differences are noticeable even within the same country. To appreciate this, it is worth looking at the fight against COVID-19 in each individual state, the expert said.

- Many African countries stand out in a bad way in the fight against covid. Most countries are doing it ineffectively. For example, the same Tanzania does not recognize covid at all in principle. Their Minister of Health says that yes, "there is covid, but we do not register it, it is not dangerous, use traditional means" in order to be treated. There is no normal treatment, no hospitalizations, no quarantines. Yes, the situation on the island of Zanzibar is better. But very often tourists make one- and two-day trips "to the mainland". And there you can catch sleeping sickness and coronavirus without any problems, '' the specialist said.

All of these infections are dangerous, and if the same sleeping sickness, which lasts for a long time, is not treated, it can be fatal, the expert added.

What diseases are vaccinations and how effective are they?

Fortunately, neither WHO nor the health authorities of individual countries are sitting still and every year more and more actively carry out preventive measures, including immunization of the local population.

There are four vaccines against the Ebola virus, two of which are Russian. As Kryuchkov explained, they effectively protect against one of the four subtypes of the virus that infect humans. Also in our country you can get vaccinated against yellow fever.

Nevertheless, according to the specialist, vaccines have not yet been invented for many other tropical diseases.

- There are a lot of diseases, helminthiases (when worms start in the body - approx. "VM"), from which there are no vaccinations. The most diverse of them are also found in Africa. There is no vaccine against either West African or East African sleeping sickness. She recently contracted a Russian child in Zanzibar, the expert stated.

In fact, there is still no vaccine against malaria, says the immunologist. Yes, there is a vaccine RTS, S / AS01, information about which can be found on the WHO website, but so far its real effectiveness is being clarified. And malaria is a very common disease. According to the World Health Organization, in 2018, 228 million people fell ill with it worldwide and 408 thousand died, with 93 percent of cases and 94 percent of deaths occurring in the African continent.

What conditions must be met when traveling to exotic countries

Despite the fact that there are a lot of infections in Africa, and there are several hundred types of helminthiases, this does not mean that such an unusual corner of the globe should be excluded for your own vacation.

The likelihood of contracting something unusual varies by country and region. North and southern Africa in terms of the epidemic situation will be calmer. But the Central, Western and Eastern parts of Africa can present various unpleasant surprises. There are quite a few poor countries there.

Rospotrebnadzor recommends vaccinations against yellow fever, typhoid fever, diphtheria / tetanus, hepatitis A and B when traveling to all countries of the continent. Some kind of vaccines are generally required when crossing the border of individual countries. It is also useful to take preventive antimalarial drugs a few weeks before and even after the trip.

Only vaccination and drug prevention are not the only ways to protect your health, says Kryuchkov.

- During the trip, you need to regularly wash your hands, do not contact people who seem sick, do not drink water in unchecked places, and so on, - advised the immunologist.

He personally recommends that before going to an African country, carefully study the information from the websites of the health authorities. The same US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly publishes all the necessary information about the spread and outbreaks of infectious diseases. Similar data can be found on the website of Rospotrebnadzor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Rostourism. All this will minimize the risks when traveling or postpone the trip.

The main facts on the topic of coronavirus in Russia and the world can be read HERE >>>

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