Travel agents are advised to brief tourists on the dangers of tropical diseases before travel, according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With approximately 2,000 cases of Malaria amongst Brits annually, tourists must fully understand the risks before departing on tropical holidays. Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr. Rachel Hallett, told Travel Daily that while most cases of malaria are treatable if caught early, the Plasmodium Falciparum, which singer Cheryl Cole is currently recovering from, has a 1-2% fatality rate. “There are several drugs that can be used for malaria prophylaxis, and they are close to 100% effective if taken correctly as advised by a clinician,” she added. “The drugs need to be taken before leaving the UK and for a period of time after returning; this is very important to achieve maximum protection.” More information on malaria prevention can be found at http://www.nathnac.org/travel/factsheets/malaria_chemoprophylaxis.htm. The most common ailments amongst travellers include diarrhoea, caused by contaminated food or water, sunburn and insect bites. More serious common conditions include Cholera, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, Malaria, Meningococcal meningitis, Poliomyelitis (polio), Rabies, Tetanus, encephalitis, Tuberculosis (TB), Typhoid fever, Yellow fever. “Disease is no respecter of wealth and you are as likely to catch illnesses in a five star resort as you are in cheap hotels,” added Hallett. “Though food hygiene may be better, you are still at risk of stomach upsets and diarrhoea if you drink water that has not been boiled or is not bottled. Insects are also a problem no matter how much you pay, so you must take anti malaria tablets if you are in a country where it is a problem and you should have all vaccinations recommended for the area.” The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also recommends that travel agents make tourists fully aware of all the vaccinations they will need before their trip. “Advise them to visit their doctor, health clinic or a travel clinic at least four to six weeks before travel but if the trip is planned at the last minute, to go as soon as possible,” said Hallett. “Travellers should also be encouraged to get adequate travel insurance and to carry their E111 card in EU countries to enable them to access health services,” explains Hallett. Healthcare costs can rocket for uninsured tourists, even in European countries.