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

Travel Health Journal


COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2)

COVID-19: Travel restrictions, returning travellers, and advice for travellers abroad

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. Many countries have introduced measures that significantly affect how we live, work, and travel. As COVID-19 continues to spread among communities around the world, it’s important to work together to reduce transmission and protect those most at risk. In this blog, you will find updated guidance on international travel restrictions, what to do if you’re currently abroad or a returning traveller as well as what you can do to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your community. We also link to resources on caring for your mental health during the pandemic. Can I still travel internationally? At this time, IAMAT is advising against all non-essential domestic and international travel. ...

COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2)

The disease on every traveller’s mind: COVID-19

The end of 2019 ushered in something new: an epidemic. For the last two months, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has captivated the world’s attention. COVID-19 has spread to 6 continents – only Antarctica is free of infections – and as cases increase, many of us have questions about the virus and how or if we should be travelling. In this blog, we answer your questions about COVID-19 and provide information on what to do if you’re travelling soon. What is the novel coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause illness in people and animals. Infections from coronaviruses can vary in severity from the common cold, which causes mild illness, to more severe forms such ...

Aerial view of flooded houses

Polio: Still a global threat?

Many of us think of polio as a disease belonging to another era. In the early 20th century, it was one of the most feared diseases in North America. Thanks to the discovery of the polio vaccine, cases haven’t been seen in Canada since 1977 and 1979 in the United States. Today, the disease is 99.9% eradicated thanks to tireless global efforts, but without total elimination it continues to be a threat in the world’s most vulnerable regions. In fact, in 2019 we saw concerning increases in polio outbreaks, with cases reported from some countries that hadn’t seen cases for decades. So, what can we expect for 2020? In this blog, we look at polio, why outbreaks spiked in ...


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 ...

Map of Africa and Europe with flags

Outbreak roundup: Measles, Hepatitis A, Ebola and Nipah Virus

Here at IAMAT, we update our country health advice every day to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information on health risks around the world. To help you travel better, here’s what you need to know about ongoing outbreaks: Measles in Europe The Measles outbreak in Europe is cause for concern. Since early 2017, there has been an increase in Measles cases which has affected 1 in 4 European countries and caused over 20,000 infections, including 35 deaths. Countries with the largest outbreaks in 2018 include Romania, France, Italy, and Greece. Measles is a highly contagious virus that can be spread easily through coughing and sneezing, as well as direct contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal secretions. ...

Map of Yellow Fever risk areas from IAMAT's World Immunization Chart (March 2018)

World Immunization Week: Yellow Fever updates and news

In celebration of World Immunization Week, we highlight the essential nature of vaccines by exploring some recent news and updates for the Yellow Fever vaccine. A combination of climate change, urbanization, and increases in international air travel have accelerated the global spread of many mosquito-borne viruses including Yellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. No antiviral therapy exists for Yellow Fever, but the infection can be prevented with a vaccine. Despite this, a global vaccine shortage has made managing the disease a challenge. As responsible travellers, we have an important role to play in preventing the spread of Yellow Fever and many other vaccine-preventable diseases. Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a viral infection transmitted to humans by daytime biting Aedes ...

A pile of tires. Photo by FreeImages.com/RonalSchuster

Dengue: Innovative solutions to a global health issue

Compared to other diseases whose flare-ups have captivated the media, Dengue is a slow burn. In 1970, only 9 countries experienced severe epidemics of Dengue, but today the virus circulates continuously (endemic) in over 100 countries – including parts of Africa, the Americas, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific. Mild cases often go unnoticed or unreported, so it’s difficult to estimate the number of people affected, but one study suggests that 390 million infections occur each year. The Dengue virus Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by daytime biting female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Many people who are infected are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any symptoms, while others have flu-like symptoms with fever, rash, ...

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

Chikungunya and Zika: Let’s talk about mosquitoes

UPDATE: March 31, 2016. This post has been updated with new information about Zika Virus. 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 Both viruses are primarily transmitted by daytime biting Aedes aegypti  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 ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Mind Your Food and Water Abroad

The recent illnesses and deaths caused by the E.coli outbreak in Europe, remind us of the complexities of food systems and that you don’t have to travel to get sick: Food- and water-borne illnesses happen in our own backyard. Gastro-intestinal infections can happen in any country. Getting food to your plate involves a variety of players including growers, transportation companies, processors, retailers, food handlers, consumers, and government regulations. While food coming from a local source may get to your table faster than food grown far away, both conventionally and organically grown products are susceptible to carrying pathogens like E. coli and salmonella. Unsanitary farming conditions, poor food processing and handling practices, lack of food and import surveillance inspectors, and ...