IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Journal

By James Gathany (PHIL, CDC) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chikungunya and Zika: Let’s talk about mosquitoes

Travelling south to escape the winter blues? Travellers planning a sun vacation are contacting us wondering about the risk of Zika and Chikungunya. Currently, countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America are reporting cases. Understanding mosquito behaviour and brushing up on your mosquito bite prevention skills are two ways to reduce your risk so that you can enjoy your holiday. 6 things you should know about Chikungunya and Zika The viruses are similar and are transmitted by daytime biting Aedes female mosquitoes. There are no preventive vaccines or medications; treatment includes supportive care of symptoms. The illnesses are usually self-limiting – they typically run their course after a few days. Zika symptoms are generally mild. Chikungunya causes ...

Photo by Dr Alexandre Kamnerdsiri

Meet our doctors: They’re travellers, too!

This Giving Tuesday, we’re highlighting our doctors around the world. This is the third post in our three-part “Meet Our Doctors” series. In previous posts, IAMAT doctors shared how their international experience helps them understand your health concerns, but here’s one of the biggest reasons doctors join our network: they’re travellers too! For the love of travel IAMAT doctors are passionate about travel. They want travellers to have a memorable travel experience in their countries. Here’s why they love travel, in their own words. “I am always motivated and rewarded by a sense of duty and fulfillment in seeing travelers get back on their feet again, doing what they came to do. Travellers are true ambassadors of our common humanity and ...

Dr. Nesoah and his wife

Meet our doctors: Excellence in medicine

This Giving Tuesday, we’re highlighting our doctors around the world. This is the second post in our three-part “Meet Our Doctors” series. Looking after travellers is an integral part of practicing travel medicine. Travel medicine physicians are in a unique position to provide the best care for travellers, particularly at a primary care level. — Dr. Sonny Lau (Melbourne, Australia) Understanding of local health conditions Most of our doctors treat local people in their own countries, with IAMAT members making up a small proportion of their patients. They are deeply knowledgeable about local illnesses and how to navigate the health system. Most IAMAT doctors are general practitioners or internal medicine specialists, although some have completed additional training and specialize in areas such ...

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Meet our doctors: Together for your health

This Giving Tuesday, we’re highlighting our doctors around the world. This is the first post in our three-part “Meet Our Doctors” series. An international health perspective You rely on our doctors to keep you healthy abroad, but there’s more to them than just medical expertise. Our doctors hail from countries around the world, bringing with them a deep understanding of both travellers’ health concerns and the local health system. Many of our doctors regularly treat expatriates and local people as well as travellers. Why do doctors join our network? Across the board, our doctors had one major reason for joining IAMAT: Because they care about your health. Here’s what they told us recently, in their own words. I joined the IAMAT ...

Photo by Judith Purcell

Comment: What’s your health footprint?

A trio of tropical diseases In November, the news website Vox published a fascinating story: Travel writer Henry Wismayer’s personal experience of getting typhoid, dengue, and schistosomiasis in the same year. His story piqued our interest – after all, one of our goals is to prevent these illnesses in travellers. Here’s a summary of the story, although we encourage you to read the full article on Vox. While travelling in Uttarakhand, India, Wismayer fell ill with typhoid but recovered with rest and treatment with antibiotics. A few weeks later in Hue, Vietnam, he came down with a severe bout of dengue fever and was hospitalized for two weeks. (If you’ve ever doubted the importance of preventing mosquito bites, Wismayer’s ...

World Polio Day, photo by Rotary International

Travel and Polio Eradication

Polio eradication Global polio eradication programs have been part of international public health efforts since the 1980s. Now, only two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) are polio-endemic, meaning that the disease regularly circulates in those areas. In 1988, polio was endemic in over 125 countries. This past August, Africa achieved a major milestone – no polio cases in a year. The last polio case on the continent was reported in Somalia in August 2014. Nigeria has also played a big role in combatting polio. Thanks to aggressive vaccination campaigns, Nigeria celebrated one year without a case of polio in July 2015 and was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. Countries can be declared polio-free three years after the last ...

Harvey Enrile Unsplash culture shock

Coping with culture shock

What is culture shock? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines culture shock as “a feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as a foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to.” In travel, culture shock usually occurs when a person goes to a place with a culture very different from their own. It creates temporary psychological stress from being overwhelmed by the new culture and not knowing how to adapt or fit into the new environment. Culture shock can affect anyone but it’s most common in students, expatriates, or travellers on long-term trips. Coping with culture shock Common signs of culture shock include feeling insecure, inadequate, confused, isolated, angry, or irritable; homesickness; ...

Paul Filitchkin - dog

Rabies: A global and travel health issue

Rabies around the world Rabies is a global health issue with a long history. One of the earliest developments in vaccine research was Louis Pasteur’s discovery of how to artificially reduce, or attenuate, a virus’ virulence which he used to successfully administer the first post-exposure rabies treatment in 1885. The virus that causes rabies is present on all continents except Antarctica. While only specific travellers may need pre-exposure rabies vaccinations, rabies remains a significant and complicated public health issue in many countries. Most human rabies infections in developing countries – the majority occurring in Asia and Africa – are caused by dog bites, and vaccination of domestic and feral dogs is an effective way to reduce the risk. Many ...

Tullia, Director of Programs and Development

Meet Tullia: Travel is a reminder that we are all connected

Managing IAMAT’s programs and reaching out to new partners keeps Tullia Marcolongo, our Director of Programs and Development, very busy. Tullia’s work includes everything from providing health advice for travellers to making sure IAMAT’s operations are running smoothly. We caught up with Tullia to find out what she finds most interesting about travel health. How long have you been involved with IAMAT? What do you like best about your work? I started working with IAMAT in 2008. One of the best parts of my work is to find out where our members are travelling and hearing how much we helped them. My father, Vincenzo Marcolongo, started IAMAT. I never imagined continuing his work/legacy growing up – I have a ...

IAMAT's Guide to Healthy Travel

NEW! Guide to Travel Health Insurance

Did you know that our new Guide to Travel Health Insurance is out? Hot off the presses, this guide seeks to answer one of the most frequently asked questions we get from travellers: “Where can I find travel health insurance and what should I look for?” IAMAT members told us that they are looking for guidance on how to navigate the world of travel health insurance. We did the research for you and wrote a comprehensive primer to help you find the best coverage for your needs. Travel insurance insiders Bruce Cappon of First Rate Insurance and Damian Tysdal of Travel Insurance Review also share their tips on how to buy wisely. We do not name any companies in ...