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Novel Corona Virus, Malaria, other Travel-related Infections.

Updated on April 7, 2017

Flight Quarantined Due To Passenger With Suspicious Blister.

All passengers on a Delta flight were quaratined for two Hours,CDC & Chicago Emergency Medical Services examined woman with suspicious blister resembling a rare infectious disease.
All passengers on a Delta flight were quaratined for two Hours,CDC & Chicago Emergency Medical Services examined woman with suspicious blister resembling a rare infectious disease. | Source

Travel is not always a disease-free proposition.

"There are 229 countries in the world, and there are different diseases in every country," said Dr. David Freedman, professor of geographic medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of UAB's Traveler's Health Clinic.
"There are 229 countries in the world, and there are different diseases in every country," said Dr. David Freedman, professor of geographic medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of UAB's Traveler's Health Clinic. | Source

What are Travel-Related Infections

When we go abroad on vacations, or for other reasons, we may come in contact with -

  1. Viruses that mutates every year, like the new Novel virus with SARS-like attributes.
  2. Bacteria like Salmonella and E Coli.
  3. Parasites like the malaria and Yellow Fever parasite that is transferred to humans from a mosquito bite.
  4. Fungus infection like Ringworm or Athletes foot.
  5. Poisons that are not known to or have been forgotten by the western world and we can become susceptible to them.

This hub is about some of the illnesses that can ruin a well planned vacation. These could come from the change in climate, poor sanitation, contaminated water or food, etc. Warm climates are ideal for certain organisms to thrive in, and the risk is greater in tropical and sub-tropical countries in the regions of Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and South America.

Newest member of the Corona Virus Family - Novel!

Two dead as a result of new SARS-like Virus
Two dead as a result of new SARS-like Virus | Source

The Corona Virus.

Corona Viruses are a large of family of common viruses that people get, at one point or another, in their life .Viruses are microscopic, infective agents, (they can infect everything from plants and animals to bacteria), that can replicate only in the living cell of another organism, they cannot survive for more than 24 hours outside of a host cell. The Corona Virus is a strain of virus that causes a range of illness in Humans, from the common cold to SARS.

Corona viruses, like the SARS virus, usually infect animals but can be transmitted to humans, Corona viruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses.

Corona viruses are spread from to humans by the infected person sneezing and coughing in the air and close personal contact such as shaking hands or touching.

You can avoid getting infected by -

  1. Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  2. Not touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  3. Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

If you get sick, help to protect others by -

  1. Staying home while you are sick.
  2. Avoiding close contact with others.
  3. Covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
  4. Keeping object and surfaces clean and disinfected.

If you are sick with a common virus, you need to drink plenty of fluids and stay at home and rest until it is gone from your system. If you are concern about your illness, i.e. in the case of an infection of SARS see your healthcare provider.

Some of the symptoms of SARS are -

  1. Begins with a high fever, ( temperature of 100.4o F or >38.4o C).
  2. Headache.
  3. A full bodily aches.
  4. A feeling of discomfort throughout the body.
  5. Mild respiratory illness.
  6. Diarrhea.
  7. After 2-7 days, patients develop a dry cough.
  8. Develop pneumonia.


In September 2012, a new virus with SARS-like attributes was discovered, the newest member of the Corona Virus is a strain called Novel Virus. It was found in Saudi Arabia and causes pneumonia and renal failure, about 15 people have died from Novel Virus which is believed to have originated in bats.

The inside of a Corona Virus

Schematic of a Corona virus.
Schematic of a Corona virus. | Source

Travelers Diarrhea

It can hit at any time.
It can hit at any time. | Source

Travelers Diarrhea Can Ruin Your Vacation, Keeping You In Bed For Days On End

E coli produces a toxin that acts on the intestinal lining, this is the most common cause of travelers diarrhea.
E coli produces a toxin that acts on the intestinal lining, this is the most common cause of travelers diarrhea. | Source

E Coli and Salmonella Both Can Cause Serious Digestive Issues.

University of Valencia Study found dangerous levels of bacteria in 43% of Orange Juice used at bars for drink mix.
University of Valencia Study found dangerous levels of bacteria in 43% of Orange Juice used at bars for drink mix. | Source

Travelers' Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the name used to describe bowel movements that loose, watery and frequent. It is, also, accompanied by abdominal cramps, nausea and bloating and usually lasts 2 to 3 days, but in the case of Travelers Diarrhea, it can last 5 to 6 days. Diarrhea is usually treatable with over the counter medicine, but, there are precautions one can take to avoid Travelers Diarrhea.

One of the most common cause of diarrhea is a virus that infects the gut, this type of infection lasts for 2 days, and is called stomach flu or intestinal flu. It should not be confused with Travelers Diarrhea, which is a much more serious infection and is usually caused by a bacteria.

Most common of all, Travelers Diarrhea is known by other names such as "Montezuma's Revenge", "Travelers Trot", "Seeping Slickness" and "Delhi Belly". The name depends on which country it is contracted. About 20 - 50% of travelers develop it annually, no matter what, this illness is, it is enough to ruin, possibly, your whole, wonderful trip.

You get travelers diarrhea by eating or drinking food or drinks contaminated with one or more of these bacteria or virus.

Below is a diagram of the different sites in which poisonous E Coli can infect our bodies.

Here is a list of the abbreviations used in the diagram :-

  • NMEC - neonatal meningitis E. Coli. - Is an inflammation of the protective membranes of the Central Nervous System in newborn babies under three months of age.
  • UPEC - uropathogenic E. Coli. - Is an inflammation of the Urinary Tract.
  • EHEC - enterohaemorragic E. Coli. - This strain causes bloody diarrhea.
  • EIEC - enteroinvasive E. Coli. - This is a highly invasive strain, they use adhesion protein to bind to and enter cells. They are non-toxic, but they severely damage intestinal walls through mechanical cell destruction.
  • EAEC - enteroaggregative E. Coli. - This strain attaches itself to intestinal mucos in a brick-by-brick formation and secretes toxins which result in mucosal damage.
  • ETEC - enterotoxigenic E. Coli. - This strain is non-invasive and do not cause inflammation, it just cause profusely watery diarrhea.
  • DAEC - diffusively Adherent E. Coli. - This strain binds it self to the host cell, covering the cell surface completely, this facilitate the dismantling of the network of filaments in intestinal cells causing acute diarrhea.

Sites of pathogenic E Coli colonization in the human body.

Areas in the body where different strains of E Coli can start an infection.
Areas in the body where different strains of E Coli can start an infection. | Source

Anatomy of an E Coli bacterium rod.

The E Coli strain 0157:H7 can be a really nasty strain of Bacteria.
The E Coli strain 0157:H7 can be a really nasty strain of Bacteria. | Source

Bacteria - E Coli

  • E Coli (Escherichia coli), is a flagellated, rod shaped bacteria that is found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded mammals and birds. Some strains of E Coli is generally harmless, as it is a part of the normal flora of the gut and produces Vitamin K2, which is a lesser form of Vitamin K.

Vitamin K2 helps to move calcium deposits from your arteries to your bones, where they work to strengthen the bones.

E Coli is a remarkably diverse organism, it only needs to go through certain genetic changes to become a highly adapted pathogen, capable of causing a range of diseases from gastroenteritis to extraintestinal infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream and central nervous system. An E Coli colonization of the body can lead to Septicemia.

There is a pathogenic strain (E Coli 0157:H7) that causes food poisoning through eating uncooked or improperly cooked meat, improperly washed raw vegetables or drinking unpasteurized milk or apple cider. Swimming in sewage contaminated water or drinking contaminated water are other ways one can get infected by this bacteria.

This E Coli bacterial strain can also be passed on from humans that are infected, to other humans, if good hand washing techniques, have not been applied. Another way this infection can spread, is, through unsanitary cooking practices. E Coli is responsible for many product recalls from your grocer or butcher.

How can you prevent an infection of E Coli 0157:H7? Since this is caused by a failure in sanitation, do not drink unpasteurized beverages or eat at establishments where good hygene is questionable.

Pre-packed Salad can lead to Salmonella infection.

Salmonella bacteria can use their flagella to grip on to salad and vegetable leaves if they are fertilized with manure.
Salmonella bacteria can use their flagella to grip on to salad and vegetable leaves if they are fertilized with manure. | Source

Salmonella Bacteria

The Salmonella bacteria is closely related to E Coli.
The Salmonella bacteria is closely related to E Coli. | Source

Bacteria - Salmonella

Salmonella is another rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of growing and reproducing the cells of a host, and is found, mainly in the intestines of animals such as humans,pigs, cattle, poultry(and eggs), and pets. This Bacteria causes food poisoning, typhoid fever and gastroenteritis.

A Salmonella infection (salmonelosis)is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg product and contaminated water. This bacteria can survive for weeks outside of the body, also, it cannot be killed by freezing, however they perish when food or drink is heated to an internal temperature of 55 o C (67 o F). Same as E Coli, the bacteria Salmonella has several strains ( called serovars or serotype) that infects us in different ways.

There is are two popular strains of the Salmonella bacteria, there is

  • Salmonella Enterica, often infects cattle and poultry, and other domesticated animals such as cats and hamsters. Raw eggs can also harbor Salmonella Enterica. This strain is the culprit behind Typhoid Fever and other serious illnesses.
  • Salmonella Bongori, often infects reptiles, such as snakes and turtles, but it has also been found in dogs and birds. It is nontyphoidal, but it can causes gastrointestinal disease in humans.

Life cycle of the Malaria Parasite

Malaria Parasite.

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium and is transmitted through the bites of infected pregnant, female mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver and then infect red blood cells.

There is no vaccine for malaria, so it is best to avoid the risk of infection by protecting yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes and taking appropriate anti malarial medication. For those of you who have lived in malaria infected country, you will lose your immunity to malaria within six months of leaving your native country and you will be at risk same as visitors to your native country.

Fungal Infections/Mycosis

A fungus is any type of single cell, spore producing organism, that is neither plant nor animal, it feeds on organic matter.

The human body is covered with a wide range of germs, which lives harmlessly within the body and on the skin, when there is a problem with our immune system, certain types of fungus can build up and cause an infection on various parts of the body.There are various types of fungal infections, that can affect the human body. Here are a few -

  1. Superficial infections - affects the skin or mucous membranes, e.g ringworm (tinea), yeast infections, athletes' foot and oral thrush.
  2. Systemic infections -these occur when fungi gets into the bloodstream and causes more serious disease. Unlike Superficial infections, Systemic fungal infections can be life threatening. Fungal Meningitis is one such infection.
  3. Opportunistic infections - this type of infection is so named, because fungi attack people with a weakened immune system. Patients suffering from Diabetes,Cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Transplant recipients, and any taking strong antibiotics have compromised immune system that provides opportunities for a fungal infection.

See picture below for an example of a fungal infection, in this case, it is a superficial infection.

I will leave you with these few Travel Health issues to ponder, my next hub is about precautions and preparation you can use to prevent an Travelers Infections.

Fungal infection - Ringworm

Ringworm is not a parasitic worm, it is a fungus that feeds on dead skin tissues.
Ringworm is not a parasitic worm, it is a fungus that feeds on dead skin tissues. | Source

Travel Infection Poll

How many of these Travel Infections and causes are known to you?

See results

Websites that I used in my research

This hub was possible through research from these websites -

World Malaria Day 2014

Despite the recent progress, about half the world's population still lives in Malaria risk areas. Today Malaria remains the leading cause death of amongst young children in these regions.

World Malaria Day was created by The World Health Organization Member State to highlight the fight against Malaria.

World Health Malaria Day 2017 is April 25th !

The WHO Member State ask the question "What can Malaria Day do for You?"

The link above will take you to the World Malaria Day homepage, if you are looking for more infromation.

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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      Of course, traveler´s diarrhea is the most common sickness I think of when traveling. I didn´t realize a fungus can also be transmitted to travelers. Very interesting and enlightening. Thank you!

    • skperdon profile image
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      skperdon 2 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for the comment vespawoolf!

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