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Travel to Aid Tsunami Victims Not Recommended

Travel to Aid Tsunami Victims Not Recommended

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Ed Yeates ReportingInternational Travel Clinics in Utah and other states tonight are telling individuals who want to go to these countries to help, NOT to go for now. While the big waters have receded, other villains are moving in.

Now that several days have past, the timing is ripe for a second wave to hit these countries. It's not another Tsunami, but disease.

Stephanie Gelman, M.D., U of U Infectious Diseases: “The main outbreaks that will occur will be cholera and typhoid fever.”

Even though relief workers will be protected against the big ones, other pathogens will be breeding at the same time.

Dr. Stephanie Gelman: "Also, gastrointestinal infections could possibly be spread to relief workers if they have direct contact with feces or vomit."

With water, food, and sanitation plants contaminated, workers are desperately trying to get fresh supplies to devastated areas. The Tsunami scoured out the mosquitoes. But with hundreds of ponds and depressions filled with stagnant water, disease carrying bugs are coming back.

Dr. Stephanie Gelman: "In several of these areas dengue fever and malaria, which are transmitted through mosquitoes, will probably become more of a problem."

For now, the University of Utah International Travel Clinic is advising people who want to go look for family members, or simply go by themselves to give humanitarian aid, not to go.

Dr. Stephanie Gelman: “For family members that are going to look for other family members that may be there, it's recommended that they not go because it's dangerous. And I think the situation is going to get worse in terms of increasing outbreaks of infectious diseases."

Another problem -- though international travel insurance called SOS guarantees evacuation, there's simply no way to get injured travelers out in a disaster of this proportion.

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