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Swimming in contaminated water may result in skin, eye, ear, and certain intestinal infections, particularly if the swimmer's head is submerged. Generally, only pools that contain chlorinated water can be considered safe places to swim. In certain areas, fatal primary amoebic meningoencephalitis has occurred following swimming in warm dirty water. Swimmers should avoid beaches that might be contaminated with human sewage, or with dog feces. Wading or swimming should be avoided in freshwater streams, canals, and lakes liable to be infested with the snail hosts of schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) or contaminated with urine from animals infected with Leptospira. Biting or stinging fish and corals and jelly fish may provide a hazard to the swimmer. Never swim alone or when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never dive head first into an unfamiliar body of water.
Excerpted from:U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HHS Publication No. (CDC) 94-8280. June, 1994. pg. 173.
Your Armchair Advisor says "At the very least make sure you have evacuation insurance - especially when traveling to undeveloped regions. Emergency evacuation may not be covered under your health insurance policy. If you desire, you can get evacuation insurance as a stand-alone separate policy. You might also consider a major medical policy to protect you while you are traveling. "
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