Laos infectious diseases

Key messages for primary care practitioners

  • Screen all new entrants (including children) from this country for TB.
  • Patients should be offered and recommended an HIV test if they are newly registering in a high prevalence PCT or fall into a high risk group.
  • Take a sexual history and screen for STIs and HIV as appropriate.
  • This country has an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B. Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived.
  • This country has a considerably higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK.  Consider screening for hepatitis C.
  • There is a high risk of malaria in some areas of this country.
  • There is a high risk of typhoid infection in this country.
  • Ensure all patients are up to date with the UK immunisation schedule.
  • Ask opportunistically about any travel plans that the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin and arrange for appropriate travel advice - see NaTHNaC [external link]. 
  • For information about specific infectious diseases please see health topics

TB

  • There is a high incidence of TB in this country (40 – 499 cases/100,000).
  • Screen for TB according to NICE guidelines [external link].
  • Refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive.
  • Maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative.
  • TB is a notifiable disease.
  • Please see TB page for further information.

HIV and sexually transmitted infections

  • This country has a low rate of HIV. 
  • Test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia.
  • Take a sexual history and screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards for the management of STIs and HIV.

Hepatitis B

  • This country has an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B.
  • Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived.
  • All pregnant women should be offered screening for hepatitis B infection during each pregnancy.
  • Babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive should be appropriately immunised and followed-up accordingly.
  • The UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B; please see the Immunisation against Infectious Disease (Green Book) [external link] for further guidance.
  • Please see hepatitis B page for further information.

Hepatitis C

  • This country has a considerably higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK. 
  • Consider screening for hepatitis C.
  • Please see hepatitis C page for further information.

Malaria

  • There is a high risk of malaria in some areas of this country predominantly due to P. falciparum.
  • Information on which areas of this country are affected is available from NaTHNaC [external link].
  • Any unwell patient with a history of arrival from or a visit to affected areas of this country in the last year must be tested for malaria
  • For travellers returning to this country (e.g. to visit friends and relatives), provide appropriate travel advice as recommended by NaTHNaC [external link] for this country.
  • Please see malaria page for further information.

Enteric fever

  • There is a high risk of typhoid infection in this country.
  • Ensure that travellers to this country are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fevers.
  • Remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to or from this country.
  • Please see enteric fever page for further information.

Helminths

  • There is a risk of helminth infections including schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis in this country.
  • Please see helminths page for further information.
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