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

Travel Health Journal

Infectious Diseases

Graph showing the climate in Dubrovnik.

Climate data at your fingertips

We’re excited to reveal our new interactive climate charts! With city-level data on monthly high and low temperatures, humidity, and precipitation, you have more information at your fingertips when planning your next trip. The charts are conveniently integrated into our Country Health Advice. The data comes from our popular original 24 World Climate and Food Safety Charts, which we collected from weather stations, government agencies, and embassies around the world. Monthly averages are calculated based on 30 years of data. Thanks to the fantastic volunteers who helped with the data management and visualization of this project! Climate and health Being prepared for the climate at your destination affects more than just your wardrobe. Dryness and humidity affect skin and ...

5 Must-Read Articles on Climate Change and Infectious Diseases

Ever wonder how climate change impacts you as a traveller? Delays and unexpected costs related to extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, and elevated air pollution levels are some of the things you may experience during your travels. The impact of climate change on our health extends beyond respiratory illnesses, increased heat strokes, and water shortages. Epidemiologists and evolutionary biologists have been sounding the alarm on the rise of infectious diseases for a long time.  In recent years we’ve seen a spike in vector-borne diseases which are also spreading to new regions. Here are a few that we’ve been tracking: Appearance of Chikungunya in the Caribbean Locally acquired Dengue in southern Florida, southern France, Italy, Portugal, and Japan West ...

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 ...

Everything you need to know about Schistosomiasis

If your next adventure will take you rafting or swimming in fresh water, you should know about Schistosomiasis. What do snails have to do with travel health? You’re familiar with Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Traveller’s Diarrhea, but here’s one travel health risk you may not have heard of: Schistosomiasis. Also known as Bilharzia, Schistosomiasis is a parasitic infection transmitted by freshwater snails present in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia, South America, the Middle East, and some Caribbean islands. The culprit is the trematode flatworm parasite that is transmitted by small snails which are difficult to spot on the shores of lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. Coming into brief contact with fresh water contaminated with one of the eight ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Come back with memories, not TB

Guest post by IAMAT Board member Shirley Cheng, MPH. Shirley has over 20 years of public health experience in both Canada and China. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Medical Sciences from West China University of Medical Sciences. Chest x-rays courtesy of Stock.XCHNG. Today is World Tuberculosis Day. One hundred and thirty years ago, the German doctor Robert Koch discovered the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis (TB). TB continues to be a global health concern: In 2010, 9 million people suffered from TB, 1.4 million people died from this infection, and one-third of the world’s population is at risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated March 24 ...

How Travellers Can Help End 7 Neglected Tropical Diseases

Photo – Children getting medication to prevent NTDs in India. Photo by Esther Havens. Guest post by Caitlin Garlow, Communications Associate, Sabin Vaccine Institute. Sabin is a non-profit organization working to eliminate neglected tropical diseases through innovative vaccine research and development, and advocating for improved access to vaccines and essential medicines for citizens around the globe. For health-conscious individuals planning to visit other countries, there’s a pre-travel checklist: Visit the travel clinic, check Catch up on necessary immunizations, check Research medical insurance, check But even the savviest travellers may not know about all the diseases that are native to the countries they visit, how to avoid them or how they can help those affected by particularly devastating diseases that most people have ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Cruise Travel Health Basics

As a record number of travellers are booking cruise holidays – the latest numbers show that there were approximately 15 million cruise passengers worldwide in 2010 – the risk of getting ill on a cruise ship increases. Illnesses on large ships have a ripple effect; living in close quarters with hundreds or thousands of other travellers for an extended period of time not only exposes you to infectious diseases, but can also have a negative health impact on host port communities where passengers disembark for sightseeing tours and on-land activities. What are common illnesses found on cruise ships? Gastro-intestinal illnesses (gastroenteritis) caused by norovirus, e. coli, and salmonella can be present on cruise ships. These highly contagious viral and ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Travel and Rabies: An Ongoing Concern

When rabies comes up in conversations, it’s often in veterinary clinics where our pets are vaccinated against infection. Rabies however, is also a major concern for travellers. More than 150 countries report rabies in their animal population putting humans at risk. The majority of human rabies cases are reported from Asia and Africa and 99% of cases are from dog bites. The World Health Organization estimates that 55,000 people die annually, although the illness is often misdiagnosed or under-reported. On a positive note though, the WHO states that 15 million people worldwide receive the post-exposure vaccinations, preventing an estimated 327 000 deaths annually. It’s not only travellers going on eco-tourism or adventure expeditions that are at risk. In many ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Thinking About the Spread of Dengue and its Prevention

The recent dengue outbreaks, notably in the Philippines, USA (Key West), India (Delhi), and China (Guangdong province) got us thinking about why infection rates are on the increase and how the disease is spreading to areas previously believed safe from the virus. The dengue virus is primarily spread by infected female Aëdes aegypti (urban domestic) mosquitoes that bite during the day (dawn to dusk) both indoors and outdoors. The disease has become a major economic burden and serious public health concern in tropical and sub-tropical areas. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 50 million infections worldwide each year and 2.5 billion people are at risk of contracting dengue. However, under-reporting (because the patient did not receive ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Polio No Longer A Real Threat? Think Again

The recent polio (poliomyelitis) outbreaks in Central Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia) are reminders of how travel and migration can contribute to the re-emergence of a disease in a region previously declared free of infection. In Tajikistan, for example, the country was declared polio free in 2002, but this year alone 239 children became paralyzed and 15 patients have died of the disease imported from India. The disturbing news is that since 2003 there have been 25 countries – originally declared polio free – that have been re-infected. (Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea are some of the countries that have since taken steps to control the reappearance of polio.) Travellers ...