Every year, more than 8 million tourists choose Thailand as their holidays destination. There are many those who arrive with insufficient advices on health and that lead sometimes to diseases which can waste a part of their stay.
Informations supplied in this page are not intended to frighten you, but simply with the aim of helping you to find the suited protection against some common diseases in order to take advantage at the best of your holidays in Thailand.
Bangkok and most of the provinces in the centre of the country as well as main tourist destinations as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hua-Hin and Koh Samui are exempt from malaria since several decades.Nowadays, all the cities of Thailand are freed from it. However, in the neighbouring rural zones of the tourist regions, Particularly those of the mountainous frontier regions of the North always present certain risks.
The chloroquine and most of the others chemoprophylactic medicines turned out to be ineffective against falciparum malaria in Thailand. We rather recommend tourists visiting these endemic zones to take general precautions against mosquitoes stings. At dusk, use mosquito nets, wear long sleeves shirts and trousers and apply mosquito repellent. The persons who develop fever in the two weeks following their entrance in a risk zone should consult a doctor as quickly as possible in order to undergo an adequate treatment.
The Japanese encephalitis
This viral infection of the brain, is contracted by stings of mosquitoes which prevail in agricultural rural sectors. There are many of those mosquitoes in Oriental and Southeast Asiatic countries, mainly in the rural areas and suburbs. Similar to the malaria, this disease can be prevented by avoiding stings during the night. We recommend travelers who intend to spend several months in a rural environment to be inoculated against the Japanese encephalitis before their journey.
The Dengue fever
These diseases are endemic in Southeast Asia. They are caused by the virus of dengue further to a aedes mosquito sting which lives in houses and their neighborhood. These mosquitoes attack during the day. To local inhabitants who are infected with the dengue, especially the children who are exposed for second time to the virus, the dengue evolves towards a fatal outcome (the haemorrhagic dengue); but for travelers from non-edemic sectors, infection appears usually with fever, cutaneous eruptions, headaches and pain in the limbs and joints (dengue fever). Serious complications are rare. Dengue infection is common during the monsoon (approximately from May till September in Thailand) when aedes mosquitoes are abundant. travelers visiting local households or their neighborhood, particularly during rainy season, must use mosquitoes repellent even during the day. The persons who might present the dengue infection symptoms must consult a doctor to define the cause of the disease.
Rabies is passed on with many animals but particularly dogs and cats. Although Thailand has worked a lot on eliminating this disease and that situation was improved well, we recommend travelers to take their precautions if their routes of journey are exposed to animal bites. Those who plan the visit of a merchant town and its local communities have to think of being inoculated previously. Three intramuscular injections must be made for the anti rabies vaccine. In case of an animal bite and without previous vaccine, an inoculation after the bite is usually effective if it is made without delay. However, for those who were already inoculated, if you are bitten, you should also seek for immediate medical aid to estimate whether your vaccine is effective or not.
Dysentery is especially caused with food and water contaminated with bacteria or viruses. It provokes diarrhea, to avoid it, do not eat raw food and drink only boiled water, bottled or fizzy. Meals served in the street should be considered as source of danger. Fresh vegetables and fruits have to be washed with clean water. Fresh salad should be eaten only in a restaurant of good hygienic standards. Flowing water in many cities of Southeast Asia is claimed as being drinkable, but it is always recommended to persevere with safety precautions.
The danger of the diarrhea is due mainly to the loss of water and so a dehydration of the body. If you happen to have the diarrhea during your journey, the most effective remedy is to drink electrolyte solutions to replace loss. So, it is always useful to have some packages of electrolyte solution in your first aid case. If your diarrhea worsens or does not improve in the following 12 to 24 hours, consult a doctor to undergo a suited treatment.
Typhoid became rare among the Thai local population. However, the travelers should not neglect to set precautions against this disease conveyed by food and water. Precautionary measures for the dysentery, as mentioned above, are effective for the typhoid also. We also recommend travelers to get vaccinated against typhoid, by injection or orally, before the beginning of the journey. However, those who would need a treatment or an inoculation can go to most of hospitals or clinics in Thailand.
Sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS
Uraetritis remains sexually transmitted disease most common contracted by the tourists in Asia. The gonorrhea of the Southeast Asia is very resistant in medicines. Whereas syphilis becomes less common, AIDS extends as a disturbing speed in most of the Asiatic countries, resulting especially of non protected sexual relations.
Sex can be dangerous wherever. Travelers and local sex workers are the potential sources of AIDS. Any coincidental sexual intercourse has to be avoided or strictly protected with the use of condoms. Danger of the use of intravenous drug with the diffusion of needles and syringes also cannot be hidden from the importance. However, blood transfusion in all the health centres in Thailand is considered safe and it is also an intensive implemented mean of detection for AIDS, hepatitis B and syphilis through out all the country.
There are two main groups of viral hepatitis. Contaminated food and water spreaded hepatitis, A and E hepatitis are endemic in many parts of Asia. Most of the local inhabitants are naturally immunized against these kinds of hepatitis, but the travelers coming from better hygienic conditions can be receptive to infection. So, we recommend travelers, as a prevention measure, to pay attention to the food and water that could be infected by these diseases, as suggested for dysentery. An alternative protection for the hepatitis A is immunization with a serum or a vaccine against the hepatitis A. Consult a specialized doctor for the immunization.
Another group of hepatitis B, C and D; which are transmitted by contaminated blood and sexual relations, or passed on by a mother infected to her baby at the moment of the birth; also by the same ways as AIDS. This hepatitis group can be effectively avoided if precautions against AIDS are respected. However, for those who wish immunization, one effective vaccine against hepatitis B is available in medical services.