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

Travel Health Journal

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

My Peace of Mind… Travel and Mental Health

We are very pleased to announce the release of our series on travel and mental health, available in our eLibrary. What’s Inside? My Travel Mental Health Checklists are the the first comprehensive guides of their kind specifically intended for travellers. You’ll find: Tips for coping with travel stress Tips for travellers with no prior history of mental illness Tips for travelling with medications Tips for travellers with: – Depression and Bipolar Disorder – Substance Dependence – Anxiety Disorders – Psychotic Disorders Mental health is an under-recognized public health challenge and travellers often have difficulty accessing mental healthcare services abroad. Even if you don’t have a history of mental illness, travel stress, mood changes, anxiety and other mental health concerns ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Bed Bugs and Travel: Don’t Let Them Get To You

UPDATE: In May 2011, Canadian researchers found bed bugs with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), bacteria that is highly resistant to antibiotics and can cause infection in people with compromised or weak immune systems. See their findings at Bed Bugs as Vectors for Drug-Resistant Bacteria. Many of us consider “Night, night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” a quaint nursery rhyme no longer applicable in the 21st century. Not so. Bed bugs are making a major comeback in part due to increasing international travel and resistance to pesticides. So far, there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit infectious diseases. However, coming into contact with these pesky insects during your trip will cause physical discomfort and psychological stress. ...

IAMAT Scholarships Benefit Scholars and Travellers

We recently caught up with our 2010 IAMAT Scholars, Li YunFeng (Aaron) and Dou YongYing (Colin), who just finished an intensive six-week training course at the Kaiser Permanente Honolulu Clinic. The two students were each awarded a scholarship last September through IAMAT’s International Travel Medicine Education Program. The initiative, which is solely funded through the generosity of IAMAT members, has supported 15 medical practitioners to train in travel medicine since 2002. This unique program provides an opportunity for doctors and nurses from developing countries to study in North America and return home to teach their colleagues. In turn, they help IAMAT expand its international Medical Directory. Both Aaron and Colin live in northern China. Colin is a doctor at ...

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 AĆ«des 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 ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Spotlight on South Africa

Counting down the days to the start of the Soccer World Cup tournament? This year it’s being held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. It’s one of the few events that brings out extreme emotions among fans, and like other world sporting events, this tournament will bring attention to the country’s natural beauty, history, and cultures. Travellers are asking us about our recommendations on how to stay healthy in South Africa. In case you need to see a doctor, you’ll find that healthcare standards in the country vary between large urban centres and remote areas. High quality care is the norm in cities while in rural areas medical care tends to be basic. IAMAT doctors are ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Reflections on World Malaria Day

Malaria infection continues to be the biggest health threat to travellers going to malaria endemic countries. As travellers, we are equipped with knowledge about prevention methods, the geographic distribution of malaria, and we also have access to prophylactic medication and bed net protection. But what about people living in malaria areas? As we take a moment to consider World Malaria Day on April 25, there are mixed reviews regarding the state of malaria control and eradication initiati Decade to Roll Back Malaria This year marks the end of the ‘Decade to Roll Back Malaria’ declared by the United Nations. While progress has been made, this preventable disease continues to infect between 250 – 350 million people every year where ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Measles: Closer To Home Than You Think

Measles continues to be a threat all over the world, even making resurgences close to home. During the last decade we have seen measles outbreaks in places where this disease is considered a rare occurrence. The most recent cases were reported in Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Francisco and Amador Counties in California. Two factors explain the resurgence of measles in our communities: International travel and lack of immunization. The cases in Vancouver show that people who contracted the infection were not vaccinated or did not follow-up with the second dose required for effective protection. Add travel to the mix and you have the recipe for spreading this highly contagious disease. Here at home, even if you are not ...

IAMAT - The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers

Health is Part of Being a Responsible Traveler

When we think about Responsible Tourism, promoting respect for the cultures and the environment of our destination country come to mind. Health on the other hand, is the other component that is not often talked about. Learning about the cultures, regional geography, languages, and customs is key to being a responsible traveler, as is informing yourself about the potential health risks at your destination. While we have the means to protect our health, we also need to be mindful of how our health status impacts the people we come across during our travels. When it comes to travel, getting immunized against vaccine preventable diseases is not only for your benefit, but also for the locals you encounter abroad. At ...