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

Travel Health Journal

Travel Health Risks

Mosquito

Zika Virus: Is it still a risk?

For many of us, the Zika Virus epidemic of 2016-17 seems like a distant memory. But at the time, the disease received widespread global news coverage, changed travel plans and the tourism sector, and most of all, had significant, life-long effects on the health of infected children and families. And then suddenly, it was gone. Case numbers dwindled, panic subsided, and other news stories took the forefront. But did the virus really disappear? For World Mosquito Day this year, we’re exploring how the Aedes mosquito (responsible for transmitting Zika) caused an international health crisis. We’ll also be looking at the current level of Zika Virus risk and how travellers can stay protected. Understanding Zika Zika Virus is primarily transmitted ...

Glacier and blue sky

Travel and climate change: How to stay healthy and be responsible

Did you know that as travellers, we are having significant impact on climate change? Global tourism accounts for a staggering 8% of all carbon emissions. This is four times higher than originally thought and accounts for the energy needed to support the tourism industry and related goods and services. The global tourism industry is projected to continue growing, but without a commitment to sustainable growth and reduced emissions, the effects of climate change will continue to take hold. To travel as a tourist is a privilege and we owe it to the people and places we visit to be respectful and conscious of our impact. Together, we need to commit to more sustainable forms of travel. Here are five ...

Country flags on wall

No one left behind: Supporting migrant health

When IAMAT was established in 1960, it was with a strong spirit of global community and a desire to live in a world where healthcare is accessible to all, no matter where or who you are. In honour of World Health Day, we take a look at migrant health, the barriers migrants face when accessing healthcare, and how universal coverage can make a difference. Migrant populations often arrive at their destination healthier than the native-born population, but they can face a range of health concerns that go unmet.  Universal healthcare – having access to quality healthcare regardless of your ability to pay – is an opportunity to ensure that everyone, including travellers and migrants, get the medical care they ...

Seated couple at sunset

Sexual health and travel: 5 things to know

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a holiday romance – but while the sand, sea, and sun set the mood, a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) can quickly ruin it. Many travellers have sexual intercourse with a new partner while away from home.  However, approximately 50% of people who engage in new sexual relationships abroad inconsistently use condoms.  As a result, a large number of STIs occur in returning travellers. Wherever you go, sexual health awareness should be an important component of your pre-trip planning to protect your health and the health of your prospective partners. In celebration of Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, we’re highlighting five important things every traveller should know about sexual ...

Lifecycle of triatomine

Chagas Disease: What is it and why should you care?

Travel health doesn’t exist in isolation. Many health risks encountered by travellers are the same ones that local residents are exposed to every day. One such risk is Chagas Disease. Although it’s a low risk to most short-term travellers, around 7 million people are infected worldwide – mostly in Central and South America. Due to increasing internal migration (from rural areas to urban areas) and across borders, Chagas has become an international health priority. In recognition of International Migrants Day, we explore the challenges of controlling Chagas Disease, its impact on global health, and how it disproportionately affects migrating populations. What is Chagas? Chagas Disease (also known as American Trypanosomiasis) is named after Dr. Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, the ...

One Health: An introduction for travellers

What does “health” mean to you? Maybe it means getting vaccinated, having access to medical care, or staying in good physical shape. But what if “health” included the world around us too? One Health is a concept that supports the interconnection between the health of the environment, animals, and humans. It’s often defined as a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach that involves public health practitioners, scientists, veterinarians, and policymakers working together locally, regionally, and globally to improve health. In celebration of One Health Day this November 3rd, we take a look at the relationship between travel health and the One Health movement. Why is One Health important? A One Health approach considers the complexity and interconnectedness of global and environmental ...

Female malaria mosquito rests on a screen. Photo by Alexander Wild.

Malaria medication: your questions answered

World Mosquito Day is celebrated every year on August 20th to commemorate Sir Ronald Ross’ discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes (later identified from the genus Anopheles) transmit malaria to humans. Since Ross’ discovery over 120 years ago, we certainly know more about malaria and how to prevent it, but there’s still a long way to go. Malaria continues to be endemic (regularly found) in many countries and due to increases in international travel, particularly to tropical areas, the number of malaria infections in travellers has been increasing. Misconceptions about the severity of malaria, how to prevent it, and areas of risk can lead travellers to arrive at their destination inadequately prepared and unprotected. Malaria can be prevented by ...

Air pollution

Air pollution update for travellers

Clearing the air Reports of air pollution in India and China have dominated the news. Photos show thick haze obscuring landmarks like the Taj Mahal and people wearing masks to protect themselves from the air they breathe. This month, air quality was so poor in Delhi, Lucknow, and other areas of northern India that schools and construction sites were closed and residents were urged to stay indoors. These articles highlight the serious effects of air pollution in megacities in Asia but air pollution occurs worldwide in both rural and urban areas. Over 80% of the world’s urban population is exposed to air pollution that exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended limits. What is air pollution? Outdoor air pollution is ...

Garlic. Photo by Lobo Studio Hamburg.

True or false? Common travel health myths

This year, we introduced a new feature on social media: the Myth of the Month. Every month, we share a travel health myth and set the record straight with current recommendations from travel health professionals. Have you heard any of these travel health myths? Myth #1: “Eating garlic prevents mosquito bites.” False! (But it may keep your travel companions away…) There is no scientific evidence that garlic prevents mosquito bites. The best insect bite protection comes from a combination of: Physical barriers: Wearing breathable, light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing. Chemical protection: Using insect repellent containing 20-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin. Bed nets: Sleeping or resting under a bed net in areas where there is a risk of Malaria, Chagas or other ...

A photo of the book 'Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid', by William Forgey.

Wilderness First Aid: The Basics

This post was written with information from Basic Illustrated Wilderness First Aid, by William W. Forgey, MD. The new edition of this guide includes updated wilderness first aid techniques, photos, and illustrations to help you identify and treat injuries. Easy to read and simple to follow, the book is both an introduction to wilderness first aid and a reference for those with more experience. A message from Dr. Forgey It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to work with IAMAT as a volunteer Board member for many years. Early in my travel medicine and wilderness medicine career I realized the importance of access to, and the value of, the IAMAT disease information risk database. The best approach to ...