Fast facts on deadly diseases

Camels are believed to be a risk factor in the spread of Mers.
PHOTO: Fast facts on deadly diseases

With numerous infectious diseases spreading in parts of the world, here is a guide by Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian, head of the Travellers' Health & Vaccination Clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, on what they are and how to protect against them.


What: A coronavirus that causes acute respiratory infection. Most of the infected travelled or lived in the Middle East, with 20 to 25 per cent of them having been health-care workers.

How you get it: Exposure to camels may be a risk factor. However, bats may also be a reservoir for Mers.

Prevention: For those travelling to the affected countries, wear a mask, practise good hand hygiene and avoid exposure to infected people and camels.


What: An avian influenza, with most cases reported in China.

How you get it: Contact with poultry.

Prevention: Avoid contact with live or dead poultry, for example in wet markets, and practise good hand hygiene.

Travellers are also advised to get an influenza vaccination, not because it protects against H7N9 flu, but because it safeguards against false alarms that might lead to isolation.


What: A highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system and causes the skin to develop a rash.

How you get it: Spread by infected persons through coughing and sneezing, and through contact with contaminated items and surfaces.

Prevention: A vaccination with MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

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