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

Travel Health Journal


Pilgrims in Mecca.

Countdown to a healthy Hajj

Travelling for Hajj A pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Over 2 million Muslims from all over the world performed Hajj in 2015, making it one of the largest mass travel events in the world. Pilgrims performing Hajj will be travelling for a relatively long time in crowded places (travel agents offer packages lasting about 3 weeks). The crowds create an environment where illnesses can quickly pass from person to person. This raises some unique health risks, in addition to special vaccination requirements which only apply to pilgrims during the Hajj season. Specific health issues Meningococcal Meningitis, Polio, and Yellow Fever All Hajj pilgrims to Mecca must show proof of vaccination against Meningococcal ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

tablets counterfeit medications alaasafei

Are you savvy about counterfeit medications?

If you’re travelling on a shoestring budget, one cost-saving tip you’ll hear from other travellers is to buy cheaper vaccines and medications once you reach your destination. Not only is this a bad idea, it can be very dangerous due to the vast amount of counterfeit medications on the global market. Medications are closely regulated in Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union and are unlikely to be counterfeit. In other countries, however, counterfeit medications may represent up to 30% of the total medications available in the country. What are counterfeit medications? Counterfeit (or falsified) medications are those which are deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled. This includes products that contain toxic chemicals, the wrong ingredients, ...


Understanding and prioritizing selective vaccines

This is Part 3 of our Travel Vaccines on a Budget series. See Part 1 and Part 2. Selective travel vaccinations are specific to your destination, trip duration and itinerary, and type of travel. The more you plan ahead and have a specific itinerary, the more your healthcare provider can help you prioritize vaccines. Typhoid Fever This vaccine comes in an oral live version which lasts 5-7 years or an inactivated injectable one that lasts 2-3 years. Long term travellers, adventure travellers, and those visiting friends or relatives in areas of poor sanitation are at higher risk. It’s recommended if you’re going to Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South America. More about Typhoid Fever risk areas and ...


How to get vaccinated on the cheap

This is Part 2 of our Travel Vaccines on a Budget series. See Part 1 and Part 3. If you’re on a budget, check if your doctor administers the vaccines. This may be your cheapest option. Alternatively, your local public health department may also administer travel vaccines at a reduced rate. Also, there are travel clinics that provide discounted rates for their consultation and don’t mark-up the cost of the vaccines. To save time and money, find out if they charge for subsequent visits in case you need to finish the vaccine series; if they have all the vaccines you need at the time of your visit so you don’t have to return, especially if you’re in a rush before your ...


Short on cash and time? 6 things to know about prioritizing vaccines

This is Part 1 of 3 from our Travel Vaccines on a Budget series. See Part 2 and Part 3. One of the most common questions we get asked from travellers is about where to find affordable vaccines. The costs of vaccines and travel health consultations vary among providers and you’ll find that prices can skyrocket very quickly. In North America, travel vaccines are not subsidized by government plans so if you don’t have insurance that covers them, your wallet will undoubtedly take a hit. The good news though is that you can prioritize travel vaccines with the help of your doctor or travel health practitioner. Get your routine immunizations updated First off, we always recommend being up-to-date with your routine ...

Are you ready for Germageddon?

Do you understand how your immune system works to protect you from disease? Do you know how vaccines work? These questions are answered in the graphic novel Germageddon: The War of Vaccines Vs. The Human Immune System. Created, written, and illustrated by Natalia Burachynsky, a Medical Illustrator and Visualization specialist, the comic book explains immunity and the power of vaccines. We recently asked Natalia, an avid traveller who has visited New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Greece, Portugal and many other European countries to tell us why she developed Germageddon for her Master’s of Science in Biomedical Communications at the University of Toronto. What is Germageddon? Germageddon is an educational graphic novel that is unbiased, engaging, and humorous. It ...

Travel Health Journal