Travel insurance carriers often provide travel tips and advice on a blog. Recently, HTH Worldwide’s Healthy Travel Blog, posted an article discusses student travelers and the threat of mono. The following is an excerpt from the story.
Students abroad seem to be particularly susceptible to contracting mononucleosis. Over the past two months, HTH Worldwide has had two study abroad participants experience severe symptoms of mono. One student developed significant abdominal tenderness with an enlarged spleen and hepatitis (liver inflammation), along with anemia (a low red blood cell count), and difficulty swallowing. Her condition prompted transfer from a rural area with marginal medical facilities to an urban hospital, where she did not start improving until given very high doses of steroids.
The second patient developed dehydration from an inability to swallow, along with “ataxia” (loss of coordination) due to inflammation of the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for balance). Indeed, patients with mononucleosis have been diagnosed with a number of other neurological complications, including Guillain-Barre syndrome (loss of motor strength similar to polio), meningitis, encephalitis, and seizures.
Other rare conditions seen with mononucleosis include pericarditis (an inflammation of the lining of the heart), thrombocytopenia (a drop in platelets – the small cells responsible for blood clotting), and airway obstruction due to extraordinary tonsil enlargement. Although some enlargement of the spleen is quite common in mononucleosis – almost fifty percent of all patients who are diagnosed with mono have some splenomegaly – life threatening splenic rupture may also occur either spontaneously or as a result of minor trauma, in a small number of cases.
If a traveler contracts mononucleosis or other sickness, it is important to contact the 24 hour assistance number as soon as reasonably able. They will help arrange necessary transportation and treatment.
HTH Worldwide offers travel insurance designed for vacations and international medical plans targeted at long term travelers, such as students.