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

The Re-emergence of Tropical Diseases

by Dr David Rutherford

After my own return to overseas travel after an enforced three year gap, it reignited my passion for travel once again and gave me a chance to reflect on what I have learned from seeing others prepare for their trips.
Like most people, visiting distant family and relatives was top of the list for my reason to travel but having said that, I managed to fit in a few adventures around that.

A bicycle leaning against a colourful wall on the Camino trail
Portuguese Camino

The topic which is hardest to forget is Covid 19, given the impact it had on the world in general and on international travel in particular. In some ways it seems to have never happened, when I raise it during consultations for new trips. Most appeared to have put it well and truly behind them and given my recent experience in Europe, it was barely mentioned.

There are arguments for and against but given that we now have vaccination, antivirals and a milder variant which can be caught equally at home or abroad, it seems reasonable to add it to the list of diseases which we learn to live with. I still recommend personal protective measures as much as possible, including masking in busy, indoor settings.

We may not be seeing the highest risk travellers for Covid 19 for a number of reasons, but they will struggle to obtain antivirals overseas (unlike in Australia) and will unlikely be able to afford a private prescription to take them with them.

A small two person green tent set up on green grass facing a river that bends around green mountains
Camping in the Scottish Highlands

The other side to Covid restrictions on travel, particularly in Australia and Western Australia, was the drop off in Tropical Diseases seen from 2020 to 2022 with the re-emergence of them once again over the last 12 months.

This included imported Measles, Influenza, Hepatitis, Typhoid Fever, Rabies exposures and Malaria to name but a few.

There has never been a better reminder of the importance of thorough Travel Health preparation!