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Travellers warned of stomach bugs

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Travellers have been warned to take out a good travel insurance policy especially if they are travelling to Egypt, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Morocco, where they have the highest chances of suffering from diarrhoea.

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), around 82 people out of the 100,000 travellers to to Egypt come down with stomach illnesses, compared with just 0.2 gastrointestinal casualties on the same number of trips to The Netherlands.

Some 6.6 of 100,000 visitors to Portugal suffered from diarrhoea, ranking the country the highest among the 10 most popular destinations for tourists from the UK.

The report's risk level-based classification of countries puts Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia on the top for gastrointestinal infection.

Salmonella germs were to be the biggest problem for travellers' digestive systems, with half of the 24,322 laboratory-confirmed diarrhoea cases between 2004 and 2008 being caused by the bacteria.

Travellers are advised to wash their hands regularly, carry alcohol gel and be cautious about drinking water.

Dr Jane Jones, a travel health expert with the HPA, said: "There are measures people can take to protect themselves while they are away, and it is also important that travel health specialists and the travel industry work together to increase awareness of travellers' diarrhoea and to actively promote prevention strategies in high-risk destinations."

© Press Association 2010