GPs warned over cricket world cup illness risk

GPs should look out for signs of GI diseases, rabies and malaria in fans returning from the cricket world cup, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned.

Barmy Army: travelling cricket fans face health risk
Barmy Army: travelling cricket fans face health risk

Thousands of supporters are expected to return from the 2011 world cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka over the next four weeks.

Professor David Hill, director of the UK's national travel health network and centre, said some are likely to return with fever, diarrhoea or STIs.

'With a fever it is important to rule out malaria. GPs should make sure they ask if the patient had taken malaria prevention tablets,' he said.

'Fevers could include typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever. Bangladesh is one of the highest risk areas for UK travellers returning with enteric fever,' he added.

The HPA said GPs should look out for signs of TB and polio.

Cholera is endemic in India and Bangladesh, and can present as a mild diarrhoeal illness in otherwise healthy individuals, the HPA said. For patients with fever, and systemic as well as GI symptoms, an infectious disease assessment may be appropriate, the HPA said.

Not all cricket venues are in malaria risk areas but visitors may travel around the region and GPs should take into account visitors' travel history, the agency added.

Mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis occur in all three countries hosting the cup.

GPs who see travellers returning with a fever should exclude malaria before sending samples to the special pathogens reference unit with a full travel and clinical history, the HPA said.

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