See a doctor before traveling.

Position:Your Life

As the 2005 travel season swings into high gear, the American Society of Travel Agents, Alexandria, Va., announced survey results showing that, while 56% of U.S. travelers plan an itinerary for vacation, just 19% seek advice from a health care professional prior to departure, interestingly, 69% of survey respondents say safety and health are major considerations when choosing an international travel destination.

More than 20,000,000 people will travel abroad this year to places where they may contract a potentially serious disease. According to the survey, many travelers do not know which countries carry which disease risks. In fact, a majority of people are unaware that maladies such as malaria and hepatitis can be contracted in many popular destinations. In addition, a large number are unsure or misinformed about how some common travel diseases are transmitted.

"Because many travelers don't realize that they may be at risk for certain diseases while traveling, it's important that they see their health care professional before they embark on their trips to learn more about how to protect themselves," recommends Karl Neumann, director of Travel Medicine Clinic in Forest Hills, N.Y.

The World Health Organization named malaria one of the most serious threats to international travelers, yet...

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