I decided to start this thread because of the many questions regarding traveller's health that I came across lately in the South America forum. Anyone who has useful information to share on
- useful resources on the internet
- actual health hazards by country/region (epidemic outbreaks etc.)
- other useful information
Please post it here. Please no questions/discussions; information only.
I've no idea whether or not a thread like this will work or not; it might well result it utter chaos and disappear into oblivion, but hey, at least we tried
I'll start by making a first contribution:
For near-exhaustive information on public health issues in almost any country, consult the website of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They feature a section dedicated to traveller's health, as well as an encyclopedia of diseases. Plus they have a reputation of being reliable.
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office website has plenty of travel advice, including health and safety issues. This can be found at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
The Travel Doctor contains a lot of useful health-related information
I have found the World Health Organization (WHO) to be quite useful also:
WHO - International Travel & Health
The International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene both have a directory search page for travel clinics around the world. You will be required to agree to their terms/conditions for the International Society site before being allowed to perform a search. The American Society does not require agreement and the directory link is just under their header. I have used both sites numerous times for thread replies.
International Society of Travel Medicine
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene - Directory
The Healthy Traveler Clinic in California has good website for basic trip preparation tips along with info on vaccinations, etc.
Healthy Traveler Clinic
Healthy Traveler Survival School
How To Get Ready
Food & Water Safety
There are more links on their site about airport security, travel insurance, etc. too.
I can't speak for all countries, but many will have a government office or department of health which posts information about their countries online. It may take a couple of tries to find the right key words, but performing a google search for these departments has proven productive for me. I have found the CDC and WHO sites to be quite current with their information, but once in awhile, the specific goverment site will have been updated more recently and contain better information about disease outbreaks and increased hazards.
For those of you purchasing travel insurance I suggest you read my posts in Introductions - have your policy in your hand before you leave, insist that you be sent the fine print covering any "exceptions".
Beware of any "promotional material" you may have received, such as a brochure outlining services and make sure they ARE included in your personal policy - ie "medivac coverage" and NOT to the nearest facility either - to your own country if you choose.
Do NOT leave home with a promise from your insurer that the policy will be in place by the time you arrive --
Be very careful who you choose as your insurer, talk to others, find out who had problems with their coverage and who received great service - this COULD cost you your life while you are traveling.
Hospitals in 3rd world countries are NOT the same - even the so-called "western" facilities can be filthy, with no one speaking English.
Beware of so-called "international clinics" that offer services for a fee, exorbitant in most cases. GET IT IN WRITING as to what services they do provide - just because their brochure says "medivac" etc does NOT mean your contract with them covers these services. Make sure you wont be charged an additional fee every time you visit their clinic. Make sure they will give you antibiotics etc that are imported from a western country, UK, Canada, US, Europe etc and NOT manufactured locally -
Been there, done that, and I am now flat broke, wiped out financially because its been a case of "live and learn" - a very expensive lesson to be sure. And a near fatal one too.
IF you are ill and dont have the money for a last minute flight home call your consulate - they will usually help people in emergencies, you will have to pay back the money you borrow for your flight - but the alternative can be much worse.
I found its not unusual to have doctors say they trained in Canada, or the US or the Uk and they cant speak a word of English - wonder HOW they managed that?
This website gives an excellent overview of what vaccines and medications are recommended for each country when travelling.