Tropical Medicine

Health Problems After Travel To Developing countries: Woes Of A Traveler

Woes of a traveller Tropical Medicine

Travellers’ Health / Travellers Medicine

Travel is a passion and it knows no barriers even at the cost of safety. A large number of individuals travel to distant and developing countries to imbibe and explore their culture, delicacies and unravel their mysteries of untouched locations. A large number of travelers fail to seek premedical travel advice and vaccinations. This at times results in contracting health problems which primarily are mild however 8% of travelers are moderately ill to seek medical care. The most common clinical symptoms after travel to developing countries include febrile illness, diarrheal , and dermatologic reactions such as: Traveler’s diarrhea, Enterotoxic E. coli diarrhea, Malaria, Acute febrile respiratory tract infections, Influenza, dengue.

For a medical practitioner it is necessary to differentiate infections from life threatening conditions and hence becomes imperative to analyze and assess the itinerary and activities in which the traveler participated so that a differential diagnosis could be reached saving unnecessary diagnostic testing and most importantly time. Travelers to sub-Saharan Africa presenting with fever, malaria is the most common specific diagnosis. Whereas, febrile patients post travel to Latin America or Southeast Asia were more likely to have dengue. Thus, a tropical medicine specialist can be highly beneficial in providing a differential diagnosis as they are commonly aware of outbreaks and prevalence of an infectious disease in an area. The Ebola virus epidemic was partially managed and aided in diagnosing individuals specifically by travel itineraries. It has to be kept in mind that primarily infections have a short incubation period and hence can be easily diagnosed with recent travel history however certain diseases such as schistosomiasis, or tuberculosis can manifest months or even years later hence a detailed Past history becomes a mandate. Consultation with an tropical medicine specialist is  recommended in severe travel-related infections, when diagnosis and management are both unclear and complicated. Public health authorities may need to be informed in cases of high chances of transmission of infections which can be both life threatening and epidemic.

Courses Offered

James Lind Institute has designed a course for individuals seeking a career in Tropical medicine which is and ‘Advanced PG Diploma in Tropical Medicine, Surveillance and Immunization’. This course not only provides continuous academic support but also provides mentoring from the senior professionals from the industry so that apart from the education an individual also gets an inner insight into the sector. Tropical medicine specialists have a key role to play in designing epidemiological activities alongside medical strategies thus opening wider avenues in various hospitals, epidemiological centers and global agencies like the World Health Organization.

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