IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|
55th Year - Going Confidently for 55 years
55th Year - Going Confidently for 55 years

Travel Health Journal

Dr Elaine Jong IAMAT

Making a difference in the lives of travellers

This week, we’re sharing a letter to our members from Dr. Elaine Jong. Dr. Jong is Chair of IAMAT’s International Medical Advisory Board and Clinical Professor (Emeritus) of Medicine at the University of Washington.  This article is part of our 55th Anniversary blog series. To learn more, visit our 55th Anniversary page. When IAMAT was established in 1960, travellers did not have timely information on health conditions at their destination: There was no country-by-country advice on food and water safety, climate and environmental conditions, infectious diseases like malaria, or even vaccine recommendations. The health of travellers was not a priority for the medical community, but IAMAT changed all that and became a pioneer in the field of travel health. ...

Dr Vincenzo Marcolongo

Who was Dr. Vincenzo Marcolongo?

This article is part of our 55th Anniversary blog series. To learn more, visit our 55th Anniversary page. It all started with a painkiller. The incident that spurred Dr. Vincenzo Marcolongo to dedicate his life to travellers’ health occurred in Rome in 1960. Norma Beecroft, a Canadian music student studying in Rome, had been prescribed the painkiller aminopyrine by an Italian physician. Within a few weeks of starting the painkiller, Beecroft became seriously ill. Unbeknownst to her physician, the painkiller was destroying her white blood cells, causing acute leukopenia. By the time she was referred to Dr. Marcolongo by a non-English speaking colleague, her condition had dramatically deteriorated. Dr. Marcolongo, an English-speaking Italian physician, had trained in Montreal and ...

travel vaccinations 2015

Updated vaccination advice for all countries

The 2015 edition of our World Immunization Chart is out! This handy chart is used by travellers and healthcare providers to determine country-by-country vaccination requirements and recommendations. A notable change this year is that South Africa no longer requires a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate from travellers coming from Zambia. Be aware too that a Polio vaccination certificate continues to be required from travellers visiting Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Pakistan and Syria for more than 4 weeks. Travellers need to show proof that they were vaccinated between 4 weeks and 1 year prior to entering these countries. The Chart also provides descriptions of the geographical distribution of vaccine-preventable diseases like Yellow Fever, Tick-Borne Encephalitis, Meningococcal Meningitis, and Japanese Encephalitis. Depending on ...

IAMAT 55th anniversary

Going Confidently for 55 Years!

Thank you for supporting 55 years of healthy travel! It’s our 55th anniversary and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. Since our founding in 1960, we’ve helped generations of travellers prepare for a healthy trip abroad. To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at IAMAT history, advancements in travel medicine, and even travel trends over the last 55 years like travellers’ fashions. Twice a month, we’ll publish a new blog post highlighting part of our history: we’ll talk to our members, the doctors in our network, and our scholars to bring you their stories about being part of the IAMAT family. Celebrate with us Share your love of travel through photos, videos, and stories. We’ll ...

is the water safe to drink

Is the water safe to drink?

In 2010, web designer and world traveller Pon Kattera approached us with a brilliant idea: What if our resources on the quality of drinking water were even easier for travellers to use? Fast forward to 2015 and the launch of Pon’s website Is the water safe to drink. It’s an easy-to-use site that lets you check the safety of drinking water around the world and it’s sourced from our comprehensive food and water safety data. We caught up with Pon to learn more about his travel experiences and why he decided to create this site.   IAMAT: What inspired you to create Is the water safe to drink? Pon: Too frequently, I find myself arriving in a new city ...

Lamosquette2 crop

How to choose a good mosquito net

If you’re travelling to a malaria-endemic area, a mosquito net should be on your list of essential travel supplies. Malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito that bites humans from dusk to dawn. The Anopheles mosquito is stealthy and silent. They don’t buzz so you can’t hear them approaching. This means you are a prime target when you are most vulnerable — asleep. Bed nets are a key defence against malaria, but they also offer protection from other diseases such as filariasis (known for massive swelling of the limbs) and other insects and arachnids like ticks, beetles, flies, and spiders. Remember that in malarious areas, bedrooms without tightly-fitting screens or broken screens require insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets, except ...

tablets counterfeit medications alaasafei

Are you savvy about counterfeit medications?

If you’re travelling on a shoestring budget, one cost-saving tip you’ll hear from other travellers is to buy cheaper vaccines and medications once you reach your destination. Not only is this a bad idea, it can be very dangerous due to the vast amount of counterfeit medications on the global market. Medications are closely regulated in Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union and are unlikely to be counterfeit. In other countries, however, counterfeit medications may represent up to 30% of the total medications available in the country. What are counterfeit medications? Counterfeit (or falsified) medications are those which are deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled. This includes products that contain toxic chemicals, the wrong ingredients, ...


Understanding and prioritizing selective vaccines

This is Part 3 of our Travel Vaccines on a Budget series. See Part 1 and Part 2. Selective travel vaccinations are specific to your destination, trip duration and itinerary, and type of travel. The more you plan ahead and have a specific itinerary, the more your healthcare provider can help you prioritize vaccines. Typhoid Fever This vaccine comes in an oral live version which lasts 5-7 years or an inactivated injectable one that lasts 2-3 years. Long term travellers, adventure travellers, and those visiting friends or relatives in areas of poor sanitation are at higher risk. It’s recommended if you’re going to Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South America. More about Typhoid Fever risk areas and ...


How to get vaccinated on the cheap

This is Part 2 of our Travel Vaccines on a Budget series. See Part 1 and Part 3. If you’re on a budget, check if your doctor administers the vaccines. This may be your cheapest option. Alternatively, your local public health department may also administer travel vaccines at a reduced rate. Also, there are travel clinics that provide discounted rates for their consultation and don’t mark-up the cost of the vaccines. To save time and money, find out if they charge for subsequent visits in case you need to finish the vaccine series; if they have all the vaccines you need at the time of your visit so you don’t have to return, especially if you’re in a rush before your ...

travel while pregnant photo by Gosia Lachucik

How to Travel Comfortably While Pregnant

By Jan Rydfors MD, Co-Creator of Pregnancy Companion: The Obstetrician’s Mobile Guide to Pregnancy Traveling can be especially stressful for pregnant women with the breaking of normal routines. As a busy obstetrician in Silicon Valley for over 20 years, my patients have asked me thousands of travel related questions. Below are five tips to help mommies-to-be get the most out of their trip. Hydration. Remember that hydration is extra important when you’re pregnant as more water evaporates from your skin during pregnancy, especially if traveling during the summer as heat will enhance that fluid loss. Try to drink at least 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid every day and even more on hot days. Sun. It feels good and getting ...