6 global health threats for travelers this summer: Physicians weigh in

NPR interviewed physicians who specialize in international travel about some of the world's most significant health concerns.

Six health risks and their locations:

1. Measles around the world.

Measles cases are rising globally, according to the World Health Organization. The CDC advises getting fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before traveling.

2. Rubella in Japan.

This disease can cause birth defects. Pregnant women or those considering pregnancy should receive an MMR IgG test to see if they have protective antibodies before traveling to Japan, Rajiv Narula, MD, a travel-medicine expert and internal medicine physician at MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., told NPR.

3. Yellow fever in Brazil.

Several travelers have died of yellow fever in Brazil since early 2018. Experts recommend vaccination at least 10 days before departure and taking measures against mosquitoes, which spread the disease.

4. Polio in Indonesia.

A polio outbreak caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus is ongoing in the province of Papua. The CDC recommends travelers receive a lifetime booster of the polio vaccine before entering the country, even if they were vaccinated as a child.

5. Leptospirosis in Israel.

Travelers in northern Israel are at risk of exposure to fresh water contaminated with this bacterial disease. While there is currently no vaccine against Leptospirosis, travelers can take a preventative antibiotic called doxycycline to protect themselves.

6. Heat waves in Europe and India.

Record-high temperatures in these regions have killed several people. Such natural disasters, along with issues such as violence, can exacerbate travelers' health problems by making it more difficult to obtain care, Robert Salata, MD, chairman of medicine and an infectious disease expert at University Hospitals Cleveland (Ohio) Medical Center, told NPR

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