Scuba Diving for the first time in my late 40s – from a desert chick from the Centre of Australia.

Dr Deb Mitchell   TMA member in Alice Springs

I am wearing close to 40kg of extra weight with all the gear for my first dive (needless to say I am not keen to reveal my baseline weight but let’s just say it’s a lot!!) and as a group we are walking from the car park at Alma Bay on Magnetic Island off the coast of Townsville, wearing full-length wetsuits, and I pretend not to notice the stares of strangers. I am excited, yet nervous as all hell, hot with the sun baking on the wetsuit material, and can feel my face getting redder, as I try not to huff and puff like a steam train. I am slightly reassured as my younger colleagues complain about how heavy the tank and weight belts are.

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Uganda – volunteer in health clinic

Kate McGowan RN

TravelBugs Adelaide

It’s a week into my four week Uganda trip and I find myself in a not-unfamiliar environment. It feels like I’ve been here before: Poverty and lack of resources in the tropics tends to send cities into a familiar decline.  It’s warm, humid and hazy, the air is heavy with wood smoke, diesel and leaded petrol fumes from the old cars that inhabit the roads.

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Solomon Islands – Student Medical Placement

Dr Jo Grey

TMA Brisbane

Earlier this year, I accepted an invitation to spend two weeks on Guadalcanal Island, part of the Solomon Islands group supervising medical students from Bond University on an elective placement.  The students were seeking a doctor to accompany them who would be happy to work alongside and supervise them in a tropical, low-resource environment. I happily accepted, having worked and travelled previously in other Pacific nations, but never visited the Solomon Islands – what a great opportunity!  What a challenge!
The placement was a student initiative, organised by Bushfire, the Bond University Rural Health Club.  This year is only the second year that this student-run initiative has taken place, following on from the successful inaugural trip in 2018.

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Staying safe during an Ebola mission

Dr Saschveen Singh, Capstone Health, Wembley

Ebola Staff health: not your average travel medicine story.

Since the West African outbreak made international headlines in 2015-2017, Ebola has been shrouded in myth. Many had forgotten its existence.

But the recent major outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has put the disease centre-stage again.

When I was placed at an Ebola treatment centre with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) my friends and family first asked me why on earth I wanted to go there; and, second, what I would do to stay safe.

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Altitude Illness in the Andes  

Dr Jason Rajakulendran, TMA Sandringham.

A recent holiday to the Andean mountains of Ecuador & Peru highlighted to me the importance of careful preparation for any time spent at altitude. The Andes as the world’s second highest mountain range, allow relatively easy flight access to stunning high-altitude regions and active pursuits. As I climbed above 5000m on the glacial volcano of Cotopaxi, I started feeling the dramatic effects of altitude illness despite some efforts to acclimatise. Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly and enjoy the remainder of the holiday. Please read on for advice on how to help prevent and manage altitude illness when travelling to high places.

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TMA Group Published Research

Members of the Travel Medicine Alliance are committed to best practice travel medicine and to that end we have a  commitment to undertaking and publishing research in the field of travel medicine.

Some of the publications that our research group have produced are listed below

Mulhall, B.P., Hu, M., Thompson, M., Lin, F., Lupton, D., Mills, D., Maund, M., Cass, R., Millar, D., 1993. Planned sexual behaviour of young Australian visitors to Thailand. Med. J. Aust. 158, 530–535.

Leggat, P.A., Mills, D., Speare, R., 2007. Level of Concern and Sources of Information of a Group of Brisbane Hostelers for Personal Safety and Terrorism When Traveling Abroad. Journal of Travel Medicine 14, 112–116.

Mills, D.J., Lau, C.L., Weinstein, P., 2011. Animal bites and rabies exposure in Australian travellers. Med. J. Aust. 195, 673–675.

Mills, D.J., Lau, C.L., Fearnley, E.J., Weinstein, P., 2011. The Immunogenicity of a Modified Intradermal Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccination Schedule—A Case Series of 420 Travelers. Journal of Travel Medicine 18, 327–332.

Lau CL, Hohl N. Immunogenicity of a modified intradermal pre-exposure rabies vaccination schedule using a purified chick embryo cell vaccine: An observational study. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2013 Nov;11(6):427–30.

Mills, D., 2013. Intradermal pre-exposure rabies vaccination. Promises and pitfalls. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 11, 335–336. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2013.10.007

Martin-Blondel, G., Iriart, X., Baidouri, F. El, Simon, S., Mills, D., Demar, M., Pistone, T., Le Taillandier, T., Malvy, D., Gangneux, J.-P., Couppie, P., Munckhof, W., Marchou, B., Ravel, C., Berry, A., 2015. Outbreak of Leishmania braziliensisCutaneous Leishmaniasis, Saül, French Guiana. Emerging Infectious Diseases 21, 892–894. doi:10.3201/eid2105.1411811.

Lau CL, Streeton CL, David MC, Sly PD, Mills DJ.The tolerability of a combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine in children aged 2–16 years: an observational study. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2016 Feb 1;23(2):tav023.

Mills, D.J.,Kohl, S.E., 2016. Twitter for travel medicine providers. Journal of Travel Medicine 23, taw002. doi:10.1093/jtm/taw002

Furuya-Kanamori L, Mills D, Sheridan S, Lau C. Medical and psychological problems faced by young Australian gap year travellers‡. J Travel Med. 2017;24(5). doi:10.1093/jtm/tax052.

Jelinek T, Cromer MA, Cramer JP, Mills D et al. Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated Vero cell_derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine (IXIARO ® , JESPECT ® ) in a pediatric population in JE non-endemic countries: An uncontrolled, open-label phase 3 study. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. March 2018. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2018.03.003

Lau CL, Ramsey L, Mills L, Furuya-Kanamori L, Mills DJ. Drug-free holidays: Compliance, tolerability, and acceptability of a 3-day atovaquone/proguanil schedule for pre-travel malaria chemoprophylaxis in Australian travellers. Clinical Infectious Diseases [Internet]. 2018 Oct 3 [cited 2018 Oct 4];

Armstrong M, Francis J, Robson J, Graves S, Mills DJ, Ferguson J, et al. Q fever vaccination of children in Australia: Limited experience to date: Q fever vaccination in Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health [Internet]. 2019 Jan 2 [cited 2019 Jan 7];

David MC, Ha SH, Paynter S, Lau C. A systematic review and meta-analysis of management options for adults who respond poorly to hepatitis B vaccination. Vaccine. 2015 Nov;33(48):6564–9.
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Lau CL, Sweet M, Weinstein P. A stitch in time: unrecognized retained foreign bodies after a needlefish injury. Journal of Travel Medicine [Internet]. 2017 Mar 1 [cited 2019 May 19];24(2). Available from: http://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/doi/10.1093/jtm/taw092/2930767/A-stitch-in-time-unrecognized-retained-foreign
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Lau C, Smythe L, Weinstein P. Leptospirosis: An emerging disease in travellers.Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2010 Jan;8(1):33–9.
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Lau C, Weinstein P, Slaney D. Imported cases of Ross River virus disease in New Zealand – A travel medicine perspective. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2012 May;10(3):129–34.
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Huang X, Lambert S, Lau C, Soares Magalhaes RJ, Marquess J, Rajmokan M, et al. Assessing the social and environmental determinants of pertussis epidemics in Queensland, Australia: a Bayesian spatio-temporal analysis. Epidemiology and Infection. 2017 Apr;145(6):1221–30.
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Ritter JM, Lau C, Craig SB, Goarant C, Nilles EJ, Ko AI, et al. A Large Leptospirosis Outbreak following Successive Severe Floods in Fiji, 2012. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2018 Oct 3;99(4):849–51.
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Lau C, Aubry M, Musso D, Teissier A, Paulous S, Desprès P, et al. New evidence for endemic circulation of Ross River virus in the Pacific Islands and the potential for emergence. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2017 Apr;57:73–6.
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Lau CL, Weinstein P, Slaney D. Dengue surveillance by proxy: travellers as sentinels for outbreaks in the Pacific Islands. Epidemiology and Infection. 2013 Nov;141(11):2328–34.
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Flies EJ, Lau CL, Carver S, Weinstein P. Another Emerging Mosquito-Borne Disease? Endemic Ross River Virus Transmission in the Absence of Marsupial Reservoirs. BioScience. 2018 Apr 1;68(4):288–93.
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Derne B, Weinstein P, Musso D, Lau C. Distribution of rickettsioses in Oceania: Past patterns and implications for the future. Acta Tropica. 2015 Mar;143:121–33.
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Aubry M, Kama M, Vanhomwegen J, Teissier A, Mariteragi-Helle T, Hue S, C Lau, et al. Ross River Virus Antibody Prevalence, Fiji Islands, 2013–2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2019 Apr;25(4):827–30.
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Lau C, Sisson J. The Effectiveness of Intradermal Pre-exposure Rabies Vaccination in an Australian Travel Medicine Clinic. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2006 Mar 8;9(6):285–8.

Wang J, Liu-Lastres B, Ritchie BW, Mills DJ. Travellers’ self-protection against health risks: An application of the full Protection Motivation Theory. Annals of Tourism Research. 2019 Sep;78:102743. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1ZIsXaZ3ER7bH
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Babies, Bali and “I Do”

Dr Julie Burke TMA Yeppoon

Destination weddings in Bali for Australians are extremely popular. Young  Aussie couples with their love of the great out doors, beach and sand can easily access the many wedding planners and resorts specializing in magical and seemingly less costly venues for tying the knot.  More often these couples already have their own little ones, have guests with young families and mums to be; and grandparents tagging along for the ride as baby sitters.  In the excitement of the weddings planning, friends and family’s travel health needs are often overlooked – especially regarding ZIKA.

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Antarctica: Icebergs and secret weapon

Dr Cormac Carey,
Medical Director, Toowoomba.

After sampling the wonderful delights of Buenos Aires we flew South to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Here, we boarded our expedition vessel RCGS ( Royal Canadian Geographical Society) Resolute, our home for the next nine nights on a calm Friday afternoon.
The weather certainly allayed the potential for the dreaded sea sickness.  Having been previously severely affected on several fishing trips,
I had researched all possible preventive options and was armed with an arsenal.

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Measles and Travellers

Dr Michael Long (TMA Narre Warren)

 

Measles in Australia is almost always imported by travellers; there have been many outbreaks of this highly contagious disease in 2018-19 in many countries. Travellers who were born after 1966 (aged under 52?) need to ensure they have had 2 doses of the measles vaccine or documented measles disease or a blood test to confirm immunity.

 

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Medical illnesses can present serious challenges overseas

by Dr Daniel Priest and Dr Donald Leitch – Shoal Bay, NSW

Have you seen random articles on Facebook etc explaining the things that annoy flight attendants? There is quite a list: clipping your toenails … who does that on a plane?? Going barefoot… that’s smelly bad behaviour. Clicking fingers for attention, requesting a temperature change, not bringing a pen (to fill in the customs forms on international flights) to name just a few.

When you travel, especially overseas, there is so much medical advice we can give. Travel doctors are passionate about giving good, relevant, up to date advice in a comprehensive way… not just a few shots and something for malaria. It is such a privilege to be of assistance to help you have a safe and pleasant trip… but we want to do it well… and that takes time and attention.

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