Health Risks in Belgium



Belgium is one of the world's most advanced countries where major health risks have little chance of persisting. However, there are certain diseases that do exist as isolated cases which expats still need to be aware of so they can protect themselves.

Health precautions

It is best for expats to be aware of common health risks so they can take a right precautionary measure before they travel to Belgium. One disease that exists within Belgium is tick-borne encephalitis which occurs during the warmer seasons. This disease affects a patient's nervous system and is transmitted through ticks or cow's milk when unpasteurized. Other minor health hazards include diarrhoea, toxoplasmosis, which is transmitted through animals’ faecal contamination, leishmaniasis, transmitted through sandfly bites. Lyme disease is another tick-borne disease prevalent from May to September, and other insect-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and the like should be protected against in the warmer months.

Although any of these diseases can be life-threatening, expats can escape risks by practising basic precautionary measures such as wearing protective clothing to avoid insect bites, using skin-friendly insect repellent creams or lotions, avoiding going barefoot and keeping the feet dry to prevent parasitical infestation. On the other hand, sensible food and drink choices and sources can also save one from health risks. In rural areas, it is best to drink bottled, filtered or boiled water and pasteurised milk.

As long as proper precautionary measures are taken, and public or private health insurance is available, expats should enjoy ample health security. Those taking out international health insurance should also ensure their policy will apply in this country.