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The Lab

This category provides information about specific diseases, parasites and viruses that a traveler may encounter on their journey. In addition to information about prevention and treatment, you can find information on travel vaccinations and immunizations.

I hate sand flies

sandfly bites

Suppose you were Mother Nature, and you wanted to devise a creature that was fundamentally irritating. What would you create? Well, the sandfly would be a good place to start. Known variably as the sand gnat, biting midge, sand flea or no-see-um, sand flies are small enough that they wouldn't seem like a nuisance. What [...]

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botfly larva emerging from the skin

What if I told you that there exists a fly - the botfly - that captures mosquitoes, ticks and certain other flies, holds them hostage long enough to attach their eggs to them and then sends them on their way. The mosquito, tick or fly then lands on your arm, bites you and inadvertently deposits [...]

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E. Coli bacteria

You probably already know something about E. Coli. You know that it can cause mass outbreaks of food poisoning, and you know that it can cause severe diarrhea. But did you know E. coli bacteria also live harmlessly in your intestines? In fact, certain strains of E. Coli bacteria are vitally important for the function [...]

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Using cipro to treat Giardia lamblia

Cipro's prowess as a bacteria killer is well documented. It is not considered to be effective on parasites, though. Or is it? There is some research that now suggests cipro may be toxic for certain parasites, like Giardia lamblia. I learned about the possibility while eating barbecued chicken and having a few beers with friends [...]

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Why did Ebola not explode in Mali?

I was at a dinner party in Bamako when news broke that an imam from Guinea had died of Ebola in the city's largest private hospital. A day earlier, Mali had declared itself free of Ebola after a 2-year-old girl who had died of the disease did not infect anyone. The case of the imam [...]

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tuberculosis prevention for travelers

Also known as TB, Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that can be found worldwide. While some patients do not experience symptoms, infected patients with an active form of the disease face a mortality rate of over 50% if they do not receive treatment. There is also a multidrug-resistant strain of TB that has made treatment [...]

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Bana rehydration drink

We've written about oral rehydration salts before. Today, we are going to review a rehydration drink that we recently sampled. Disclaimer: we were sent a free sample of this product. However, we are under no obligation whatsoever to review this product favorably. What follows is our opinion and ours alone. If you've read our previous [...]

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one woman's story of schistosomiasis infection in England

This is a post from a reader. She has been battling ongoing Schistosomiasis/Bilharzia infection while simultaneously dealing with a British healthcare system that has systematically failed to diagnose and treat the disease. Here is her story: Beware of the temptation to paddle or swim in freshwater pools unless you are sure it is safe to [...]

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mosquito myths and facts

Here is one thing you do know: it takes exactly one mosquito in your room for you to have a sleepless night. You are also probably aware that mosquitoes transmit diseases, including malaria, one of the deadliest infectious diseases on the planet. I would put money down, however, that you don't know most of the [...]

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Chikungunya Virus

You may have seen this difficult-to-pronounce disease show up in the news recently. That's because there have been over 4,000 confirmed cases in the Caribbean in the past several months. Most people have never hard of this virus. We'll break it down for you in this post. While the Chikungunya Virus is making waves in [...]

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