Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide
Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide

Aeroplanes parked in the desert….

Dr John Kenafake - Sunshine Coast Dive & Travel Medicine


Aeroplanes parked in the desert -?It doesn't bode well for international travel.












Welcome to the travel blog you’re having when you’re not travelling. I will deliberately NOT use the “C “ word [that’s Covid] much as we are all inundated with information on the dastardly virus. Besides, anything I write will probably be out of date by the time this is uploaded.

The good news is that due to Australia’s physical distancing program, we can now move to a reduced lockdown .











The bad news according to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is that international travel is likely to be the last joy/task/job to return to a semblance of pre-C activity.

So what is likely to happen ……..domestic Australian travel. JOY.











From a travel medicine perspective, this isn’t perhaps the most dangerous part of the world,  but I will talk about a poorly studied group.

The group now poised to invade our national parks, beach camps, caravan parks, and remote rural destinations. Of course, I am referring to that uniquely Australian term, Grey Nomads: = age 55+ caravan /camper/recreational vehicle or tent travellers [usually with a spouse/partner] for extended periods of time. They are also called  SADS[ See Australia and Die). I know from personal experience [I tick all the above attributes ] that this group is anticipating any relaxation on the travel rules [well, they are also law-abiding ] and can’t wait to get on the highway, byway, dirt road or beach track .








Grey Nomads

As a GP and a travel medicine doctor, I am probably guilty of focusing more on malaria in Madagascar than Grey Nomads disappearing around Australia for 6 months.  They don't come and see us quite as often, but probably they should. There has been little,  but not no research on their health. Health of grey nomads: on the move but under the health sector radar [Australian Journal of Rural Health ] and there are some worthwhile insights.


Of note :


  1. mean age males 65.4 for men and 62.6 for females.
  2. hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease are common, though a little less than the average for these ages.
  3. they view themselves as relatively healthy [85% of men and 89% of women reported good to excellent health -though just under one third had experienced a ‘major health scare‘ in the last 2 years.
  4. 39% of those aged over 65 had not been adequately vaccinated to recommended (NHMRC) standards.
  5. They can be a burden on resources especially in remote locations [e.g. pharmacy, doctor, emergency retrieval].



Prepping for a Grey Nomad journey

Hence from a travel medicine perspective, preparation is the key.

This would include

1.up to date medical check-up[+- specialist review]

2.adequate scripts and medication

3.a health summary and also uploaded medical records review


  • flu vaccination[ free for the 65+ and with chronic diseases]
  • pneumococal  pneumonia vaccination [free for 65+ ]
  • shingles vaccination [free for 70+]
  • tetanus, diphtheria [usually with whooping cough - to protect the grandkids]

Adults aged ≥65 years are recommended to receive a booster dose of  tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis  if their last dose was more than 10 years ago [according to Australian Immunisation handbook, 2020]

Tragic case of Japanese Encephalitis

In an unrelated and very sad matter, a well known and loved hairdresser on the Sunshine Coast has succumbed to his Japanese Encephalitis infection [acquired in Bali ]. He lost a 7 month battle with the disease.

Virtual travel

If you’re hankering for a quick trip overseas you can always go virtually with many sites available and you don’t need a single vaccine .

David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef: An Interactive Journey


And  now some  news from countries that are  not Australia ;


According to WHO and press sources citing Ethiopia's Ministry of Health, more than 85 cases of yellow fever (including 6 laboratory-confirmed and 4 deaths), a significant increase over average incidence, were reported in March 2020


According to PAHO and Bolivia's Ministry of Health, more than 78,100 cases of dengue fever (> 12,800 confirmed; mainly serotypes 1 and 2), a significant increase over average incidence, have been reported since January 2020 throughout the country, mainly in Santa Cruz Department (> 75% of cases). The outbreak is past peak. Travelers should observe daytime insect precautions


From popular media

And an interesting one  from the  popular media: Rats are infecting humans with a type of Hepatitis E

and Lastly

one  final picture