For most people, the term ‘African Safari’ conjures up images of lion, tigers and other scary beasts that could tear apart human flesh in the blink of an eye. And while wild beasts pose an obvious risk to ill-prepared humans, it’s the microscopic, disease-causing bacteria and viruses that pose a larger threat to human health in developing countries around the world. Although largely unheard of in affluent countries with easy access to medical care, diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever are still widespread in developing countries.
It’s a good idea for you to be aware of these types of diseases if you have foreign travel plans. Life insurance companies will take into consideration the risk of contracting a bacterial/viral disease for term life insurance applicants with foreign travel plans to certain countries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following are some current bacterial/viral diseases to be aware of when traveling.
- Yellow fever in Brazil, Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire
- Cholera in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
- Polio in Tajikistan and Russia
- Dengue in Tropics and Subtropics
- Rabies in Bali and Indonesia
- Ebola in Uganda
Let’s take a closer look at yellow fever, one of the diseases you might encounter on an African safari. Yellow fever is caused by a virus and is transmitted through mosquito bites. A few of its many symptoms are hemorrhaging fever, coma, delirium, seizures and vomiting blood. Severe cases of yellow fever may result in death. Vaccination against this virus is recommended if traveling to tropical or subtropical locations.
Foreign Travel Safety
As you can see, being prepared for such diseases when traveling abroad is critical. Contracting infectious diseases can happen to anyone at any time. In January 2011, George Clooney was in Sudan conducting humanitarian work when he contracted Malaria, another mosquito-borne disease that kills approximately 781,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization.
If you have plans to travel internationally, you can check your travel destination on the CDC’s website for current recommendations at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/. Thankfully, term life insurance coverage is usually available for travel to most countries, even many African safari destinations!