Seafarers Largely Unprotected from Infectious Diseases
Estimating the threat from infectious diseases in seafarers and identifying occupational infectious diseases requires well-designed and internationally-co-ordinated studies, and/or integration in the routine surveillance system of communicable diseases is needed, said Norway-based Wilhelmsen Ships Service in a release.
“The magnitude of infectious disease occurrence in seafarers as an occupational group is ill-defined due to several challenges,” Dr Schlaich said. “The global population of seafarers cannot, by the nature of the profession and organization of the international and national shipping fleet, be described and studied as such.”
With a few exceptions, no national or international surveillance systems exist on infectious disease occurrences on ships and any such systems do not collect data on professions in general or seafaring in particular.
In the absence of reliable data and without proper training, seafarers remain at risk from a wide range of infectious diseases. These may either result from person-to-person transmission of infectious agents or through food, water or insects onboard ships or in ports, as well as from pre-existing conditions.
Press Release; Image: Intership Services