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New guide by UN health agency aims to keep world travellers safe and sound

New guide by UN health agency aims to keep world travellers safe and sound

Facing a growing number of hazards – from car accidents to Ebola virus, international travellers can now rely on help from the United Nations health agency, which released today a new comprehensive guide for coping on the road.

The guide book, International Travel and Health, and its accompanying website, draw on the United Nations World Health Organization’s (WHO) global network of medical expertise to provide advice on how to prevent falling ill, and how to act if illness does strike.

The new WHO guide is published at a time when an increasing number of health risks is facing travellers. Entirely new diseases have appeared, and known diseases have spread to new areas. Also, the pattern of international travelling has changed, bringing more visitors to remote areas where the risk of catching diseases is higher.

The guide profiles more than 30 infectious diseases, offering advice on the risks and outlining the preventive measures that should be taken. An entire chapter of the book is devoted to malaria, which threatens the health of travellers in more than 100 countries. However dangerous infectious diseases may be, traffic accidents and drowning are the most common causes of death while travelling abroad. In 1998, the last year for which figures are available, more than 1 million people were killed and a further 10 million injured in traffic accidents worldwide. The WHO guide suggests precautions to avoid accidents on roads and in water.

“This book contains vital advice for all travellers, from business executives flying in and out of a capital city to independent adventurers or humanitarian aid workers visiting more remote parts of a country,” says David Heymann, Executive Director in charge of Communicable Diseases at WHO.