India is home to some of the world’s greatest wonders and most iconic monuments. Being the second most populous country in the world, India is rich in culture, and home to some of the most vibrant cities the world has to offer. Bustling bazaars and exotic landscapes help to make it a popular destination for travellers.
While India is a beautiful country, and a relatively safe place to visit, there are some travel precautions you should take to ensure you remain in good health. We have put together the latest news and advice to help you make your next visit a safe one.
It’s also always recommended that you ensure you’ve had your routine vaccinations before travelling abroad anywhere. Most people have these as standard from birth and throughout school, but if you’re unsure check with your doctor.
Yellow Fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitos. Although the risk of contracting Yellow Fever in India is very low, a certificate of immunisation must be provided upon entering the country for those arriving from ‘at-risk countries’ (not applicable to infants under the age of 6 months). While the UK is not among these countries, backpackers entering India from another country may need to provide a certificate.
If you are visiting India from a different country, you can check whether you need the vaccination here.
Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver and is spread through contaminated food and water. While most common in rural arears, those travelling to big cities and tourist areas are also at risk, and should be vaccinated.
Although not everyone will get symptoms, those to watch out for are: sudden onset of fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), lasting between one and six months.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is almost 100% effective.
Typhoid fever is a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water. This vaccine is recommended when visiting rural arears, for adventurous eaters who like to try unusual foods. South Asia is most at risk for typhoid fever, so it is extremely important to be vaccinated before travelling to India.
Symptoms to look out for are: lasting high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache, loss of appetite, constipation, and a rash. Internal bleeding and death can occur but are rare.
Malaria is a sometimes fatal disease, spread by mosquitos. Although most commonly found in Africa, the disease is prevalent in some parts of India too. Anti-malaria tablets should be taken if travelling to casino these areas: the states of Assam and Orissa; the districts of East Godavari, Srikakulam, Vishakhapatnam and Vizianagaram in the state of Andhra Pradesh; and the districts of Balaghat, Dindori, Mandla and Seoni in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The risk of Malaria in the rest of India is relatively low and does not typically warrant taking anti-malarial tablets.
Signs and symptoms to watch out for include: shaking chills that are moderate to severe, high fever, profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and anemia. If you have any of these symptoms after returning from India, consult your doctor immediately.
Japanese encephalitis is a rare but serious disease, spread through mosquito bites. Although the risk of contracting JE is low, it is still possible in parts of Asia, including India. It mainly affects people who are travelling in rural areas for long periods of time.
Symptoms usually take five to 15 days to develop and include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, and difficulty moving. Later stages of the disease can see swelling around the brain and coma. The disease can be prevented by being vaccinated, and taking precautions against mosquito bites.
Rabies is a deadly disease found in the saliva of infected animals. It is transmitted to humans by animal bites, scratches and sometimes licks. The rabies vaccine is recommended for people who are moving to or going to India for a long period of time, travelling around rural parts of the country, working outside or with animals, going hiking, camping or spending a lot of time outside.
Symptoms include: high temperature, an irrational fear of water (hydrophobia), sensitivity to light (photophobia), fear of drafts of air (aerophobia) and confusion or aggressive behaviour.
If you are bitten, wash and disinfect the wound and seek immediate medical attention. Do not wait until you are back in the UK, as once the symptoms of rabies appear, it is almost always fatal.
Cholera is an infectious and sometimes fatal bacterial disease, contracted from infected water supplies in countries with poor sanitation. It affects the small intestine and can present itself through symptoms such as: severe, watery diarrhoea, feeling and being sick and stomach cramps.
Immunisation against cholera is not usually recommended for travel to India, as risk of contraction is relatively low. Travellers are, however, advised to practice good levels of hygiene when it comes to eating and drinking, in order to avoid possible, but unlikely, contamination.
Current outbreaks in India
There is currently an outbreak of Dengue Fever in the city of Deli, in Northern India. The disease is spread by certain types of mosquito, and as of November 2015, a total of 14,889 cases have been reported. There is currently no vaccine against the disease, so preventative measures should be taken when travelling, particularly during the daytime. This can be achieved by covering up with clothing, using insect repellent containing high levels of DEET, and using bed nets.
If you would like to make an appointment or if you need more information about how to stay healthy during a trip to India, visit our website at www.expresstravelclinic.co.uk.