Key facts and checkpoints

• The main diseases facing the international traveller are traveller's diarrhoea (relatively mild) and malaria, especially the potentially lethal chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria (CRFM).

• Most cases of traveller's diarrhoea are caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E.coli)—up to 75%.

• Enteroinvasive E.coli (a different serotype) produces a dysentery-like illness similar to Shigella.

• Traveller's diarrhoea is contracted mainly from contaminated water and ice used for beverages, washing food or utensils or cleaning teeth.

• One bite from an infected mosquito during a single overnight stop in a malaria area can result in a possible lethal infection.

• Infections transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. Preventing their bites is excellent prevention.

• Every year over 500 Australians catch malaria while travelling overseas.

• Malaria is a dusk-till-dawn risk only, but bites from daytime mosquitoes can cause dengue.

• CRFM is steadily increasing, as is resistance to newer antimalarials.

• It is important for general practitioners to consult a Travel Medicine Database to obtain specific information about 'at risk' countries.

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