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

Travel Health Journal

Travel Health Alerts

Person standing on a beach in a storm. Photo by Witch Kiki, Unsplash.

In the news: Extreme weather

This article is part of our monthly travel and global health news round-up. Here at IAMAT, our main focus is on travel health and not specifically on safety when abroad (there are many organizations and government departments that provide useful travel safety information). However, the two often overlap, and nowhere is this more evident than during extreme weather at popular travel destinations. Flooding, hurricanes, heat waves, and other weather events can have sudden and dramatic impacts on the health and safety of travellers and local people. Hurricanes and flooding Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria battered the Caribbean and the southern United States in September. Some locations suffered minimal damage and were ready to host travellers again within a week or ...

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

Influenza A(H1N1) – Update #4

The World Health Organization’s recent A(H1N1) Influenza pandemic declaration is no cause for panic. It is important to keep in mind that the WHO’s upgrade to Phase 6 is strictly based on the geographic spread of the infection (the virus is currently making its way throughout the southern hemisphere as part of their normal flu season) rather than the number of infected people or the severity of the symptoms. Here’s what public health officials currently know about this new strain of the A H1N1 virus (also known as human swine flu): Human-to-human transmission occurs through infected cough or sneeze droplets either inhaled or by touching a contaminated surface. The majority of infected persons experience mild symptoms and fully recover, ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Influenza A(H1N1) – Update #3

Although this A(H1N1) influenza virus is genetically linked to swine, and occasionally to turkeys, scientists believe that the closest relatives of the new strain were previously found in North America and Europe/Asia. What is still not clear is how humans first contracted this strain of the virus. Scientists are still trying to figure out if the virus recently underwent a mutation or whether there has been insufficient surveillance of swine populations detecting the virus. To better reflect the current understanding of the infection, the World Health Organization is referring to the virus as Influenza A(H1N1). If you are planning international travel, consult your national public health agency to see if there are any travel advisories for your destination country. ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Human Swine Influenza Outbreak – Update #2

As more news updates about the swine flu outbreak are coming in, sometimes contradictory, it’s easy to panic and forget common sense. Reports of the infection spreading to more countries, new travel health advisories for Mexico, and the World Health Organization revising the infection status as causing ‘community-level outbreaks’, tend to inadvertently increase our level of fear. In all this flurry of activity, it is important to keep in mind that this situation is not a pandemic and that a majority of cases have reported mild symptoms (although it is yet unclear why the strain is more virulent in Mexico). In fact, the regular seasonal flu is currently a larger threat to public health than swine flu. This outbreak ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Human Swine Influenza Outbreak

The recent outbreak of Swine influenza, by a new subtype of the A H1N1 virus, originated in Mexico and severe respiratory illness was first reported in March. Cases have since been confirmed in the United States and Canada. On April 25, the World Health Organization reported the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Several countries have issued non-essential travel advisories to Mexico. Check your national public health agency for updated information. The extent of the current outbreak in humans is still unknown; this new viral subtype has not been previously detected in pigs or humans. Swine flu is common in pig populations and the infection is known to be transmitted from pigs to humans. The search now, ...