Women and men travelers tend to get different illnesses

Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:28am EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - World travel can make anyone sick but men and women tend to suffer different illnesses with women more prone to stomach problems and men at higher risk of fevers and sexually transmitted diseases, Swiss researchers found.

A study of almost 59,000 international travelers by the University of Zurich found women were more likely than men to come down with bouts of diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems, colds, urinary tract infections and adverse reactions to medications, such as those taken to prevent malaria.

Men had higher risks of fever, including from infections transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks or other such "vectors," such as malaria, dengue and rickettsia.

Men were also more likely than women to be treated for mountain sickness, frostbite or sexually transmitted diseases.

Researcher Dr. Patricia Schlagenhauf said the findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, offer travelers and travel-medicine specialists a clearer idea of how to prepare for international trips.

For example female travelers should be especially sure to bring anti-diarrheal medication.

While all travelers need advice on preventing mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, the researchers said men may need to pay particular attention to preventive measures, like frequently reapplying insect repellent.

The findings were based on data from 44 travel-medicine clinics throughout the world, all of which are part of a surveillance network designed to track travel-related ills and injuries.

Schlagenhauf and her colleagues looked at records for 58,908 patients who visited those clinics between 1997 and 2007.   Continued...

 
<p>Tourists rest on the beach near where the Rio Group Summit will take place in Cancun February 20, 2010. REUTERS/Gerardo Garcia</p>