NEDLANDS: 2/141 Stirling Highway

FREMANTLE: 85 South St, Beaconsfield

August 17, 2018

Hear from our patients – on the Kokoda Trail

This week we got an email from patients Peter and Damian who are off on a father/son trip to PNG. Peter told me before he left that he would only be a

August 9, 2018

Hajj & Umrah Health Requirements

Australians heading to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj & Umrah pilgrimages need to ensure that they are vaccinated prior to departure, to meet the requi

July 6, 2018

Nedlands Appointments Now Available

We have listened to the requests of our patients and are very excited this week to announce the much anticipated commencement of clinic sessions in Ne

June 29, 2018

Hear from our patients – In Lisbon

Pauline and her family are currently on holiday in Lisbon, but like every good Australian took time out from site seeing to watch the Socceroos play P

Hear from our patients – on the Kokoda Trail

This week we got an email from patients Peter and Damian who are off on a father/son trip to PNG. Peter told me before he left that he would only be able to send an email at the start of the trek because there’s no power or internet after that for around 9 days.

Hi Travel Health Plus Team – Waiting to board a flight to Popondetta to start our adventure, then its a 5 hour truck ride to Kokoda – at which point we have to walk. We are a small team of 8 so should be a tight crew. No mosquitos last night but malaria is definitely a concern so glad I have my tablets. Port Moresby isn’t safe but there aren’t any tablets you can take to protect against that. A couple went to the local supermarket and ended up running there and taxiing back. Let the adventure begin….. Peter & Damian.

For those who plan to visit PNG for any reason, a trip for travel health advice is a must!

Minaret

Hajj & Umrah Health Requirements

Australians heading to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj & Umrah pilgrimages need to ensure that they are vaccinated prior to departure, to meet the requirements of the Saudi government. These requirements can change from year to year and are aimed at disease prevention, not just in Saudi Arabia but also within countries pilgrims will be returning to. With massive numbers of people coming together from all over the world, the potential for disease spread is great.

In 2018 the requirements for those travelling directly from Australia to Saudi Arabia are:

  • Proof of vaccination against Meningococcal ACWY within the last 3-5 years (depending on which type of vaccine was last given), and no less than 10 days prior to arrival

Of note:

  • Yellow Fever vaccination – this is not required if travelling directly from Australia to Saudi Arabia
  • Yellow Fever vaccination – an international certificate is required if arriving from one of the  Yellow Fever risk countries in Africa or South America (discuss with your doctor if you have a complex itinerary and are not taking a direct flight)
  • Polio vaccination – proof of vaccination required if coming from a country where polio remains a risk (Australia is not one of them)
  • Influenza vaccination is recommended by the Saudi Health authorities for everyone

 

Nedlands Appointments Now Available

We have listened to the requests of our patients and are very excited this week to announce the much anticipated commencement of clinic sessions in Nedlands.

Located at 2 / 141 Stirling Highway (on the Weld Street corner), appointments are currently available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 2 – 5 pm for travel advice, health student and general vaccination visits. Just like in our Beaconsfield clinic, all vaccines, products, kits and medications are onsite. Appointments are necessary.

Unfortunately Nedlands does not offer medicals or Q fever testing but we continue to offer  our full range of services at our main site.

Bookings for either Nedlands or Beaconsfield can be made either online via our website or by phoning us on 9336 6630. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Paula Johnstone 

Clinic Manager

Hear from our patients – In Lisbon

Pauline and her family are currently on holiday in Lisbon, but like every good Australian took time out from site seeing to watch the Socceroos play Peru in the Russian World Cup – at Hennessy’s Irish pub. With family travelling from Australia and the United States to meet in Europe, they are now heading off to Amalfi to soak in the picturesque scenery and wander down white washed alleys. Having previously seen us prior to trips to Vietnam and also India, Pauline and her Australian cohort visited us before she departed for Europe, making sure routine vaccines were up to date and having a flu vaccine. We even gave her advice to pass on to her son who lives in the US.

If you are one of our patients and have a holiday story or photo you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Please email it to us and we will include it on our blog page: reception@travelhealthplus.com.au

Destination in Focus – Croatia

Dr Raphael Beilin interviewed his jetlagged wife, Maria, who has just returned from a trip to Croatia with her sister and parents.
R: What made you want to visit Croatia?
M: As well as visiting my sister in London, we wanted a side trip to somewhere with spectacular scenery and with a bit of warmth and history. My parents are originally from Italy and had always wanted to go there as it’s directly across the Adriatic from their home towns.
R: What were the highlights?
M: The Adriatic Sea is crystal blue green and looked really clean. All of the towns and cities were beautiful, very old and atmospheric. Dubrovnik was impressive from water and land, walking the walls of the city (built on a clifftop) you can imagine yourself transported back in time. I think that’s why they used this location for ‘Kings Landing’ in Game of Thrones. The walled city of Split was originally the Diocletian palace, and staying within the walls, with no traffic, was really special.
My parents loved the Mediterranean food, an abundance of restaurants serving fresh fish and pasta dishes, often with great views. Like any heavily touristed area, we found the best food a few streets back from the main tourist strip.
R. How did you get around?
M. From London we flew in to Split and out of Dubrovnik, in between travelling independently hopping between the coast and islands as well as from island to island using the local ferry system. Planning was required as the number of ferries are limited during off peak seasons, some Islands only have two services/day. Many people seem to be on organised tours where this is all taken care of. Car ferries were also available for those wanting to explore the coast and islands this way.
Within the old city walls of Split and Dubrovnik and in the towns on the islands everything was accessible by foot, however there are lots of cobblestones and steps to climb. Wandering without a fixed plan worked well for us, we enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere.
R. Any other tips?
It would be great to book to go on as sailboat along this stretch of coast, the best beaches and sea caves are most easily accessed this way. In terms of when to go, we found early June was great – pleasantly warm but already getting busy. I can imagine in July/ August it would be stiflingly hot and overrun by European holidaymakers.
R. Any health problems?
M. None at all, but prior to departure we consulted a travel health doctor who was well known to us, who assured us that our measles/mumps/rubella and tetanus vaccines were up to date and  who made sure we had our flu vaccines before we travelled!

planning vaccinations for a trip

Spanish Flu Centenary

It’s 100 years since the so called “Spanish Flu” infected 1/3 of the global population and killed at least 50-100 million people –  5% of the global population at the time. These are staggering statistics and one reason why it has been called the Greatest Pandemic in History. What is more surprising is that 20-40 year olds were the most affected.

Here are some of the reasons why it was so severe, why travel and history are entwined and why it remains a threat even in our modern age.

It was a new influenza virus (Influenza A, H1N1) so there was no prior immunity, especially for young people.
The exact origins of the virus are unknown but it is thought to have started in Asia and is known to have been brought to Europe by US troops towards the end of the First World War.
It was named “Spanish Flu” because the Spanish media were the first to describe it. Spain was not involved in the war. In comparison both the Germans and the allied countries suppressed information to minimise harm to the war effort. The close surroundings of young men at war, as well as  population movements, helped its spread. It was not however confined only to those involved in the war, also affecting the wider population.
There were no antibiotics to treat pneumonia at that time and public health and hygiene was in its infancy.
No country was spared including Australia, although we missed most of the epidemic because of distance, limited travel and the advanced warning and subsequent quarantine measures put in place.

There a number of reasons why a Flu Pandemic remains a threat today
On any one day there are an estimated 8 million people flying. That excludes train and bus travel.
The time frame to travel from one side of the world to the other is now less than 24hrs.
Influenza is passed on by coughing, sneezing and touching surfaces and then through hand to mouth.
With increasing urbanisation globally we live closer together that we ever have done in history. In many parts of the world, particularly Asia, we live closer than ever to animals and birds, which are the source of the newest influenza viruses.
The death rate from Spanish Flu was thought to be 1 in every 50 people. Swine Flu 2009 was 1 in 5000. SARS was 1 in 6. Ebola Virus 1 in 2.
We now know that young adults have a more severe form of the illness due to the fact they have not lived long enough to have been exposed to the virus before and it is actually their immune response that causes most of the complications of the flu. Vaccination allows the immune system to create protection in a smaller, step wise way over time.

However its not all doom and gloom; we also have much better health care, disease monitoring, sanitation, hygiene, vaccination, antiviral and antibiotic medication.

Dr David Rutherford 

bot fly

Travel Facts – Strange and Unusual Diseases and Bugs

Monkeypox
Never heard of it? Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that occurs mainly in remote Central and West Africa, although in 2003 there were also some cases in the United States. Similar to smallpox although milder, it causes death in 1 out of every 10 people infected and is of particular concern for children. Transmitted primarily through the handling or eating of infected wild animals, it can also be passed on through close contact with an infected person, so people who live in the same house are at greatest risk. Characterised initially by general symptoms including fever, headache and lack of energy, a rash occurs within 1-3 days of fever onset, is often seen on the face, hands and feet and evolves from flat lesions to fluid filled blisters. The disease is self-limiting and may take 3 weeks for all lesions to disappear.

Buruli Ulcers
Caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerans, Buruli ulcers are usually found in Sub Saharan Africa, although there has recently been an outbreak in Australia (mainly Victoria). The bacteria releases a toxin that slowly liquefies the tissue, turning off the immune system to prevent the body from fighting the infection and resulting in a sore that won’t heal. Initially looking like a hard lump on the skin, there is usually a lot of damage being done below the surface and the resulting lesion is quite unpleasant, although thankfully often not too painful and does resolve with long term antibiotic therapy. Dubbed the ‘flesh eating bug’ by the media, we will leave it up to the brave and curious to search for images online.

BotFly
Found mainly in Central and South America, the botfly lays its eggs on other insects such as mosquitos and ticks. When these insects bite a human, the tiny larvae are transferred and burrow under the skin where they live and grow for the next 6 weeks or so. Leaving a tiny air hole, the botfly larvae site looks like a boil, is usually inflamed and can be painful. The infected person may also feel the larvae moving around and its head is often visible at the lesion site. Sounds gross? There are plenty of YouTube videos of people having botfly larvae removed from under their skin. The larvae are alive and considerably bigger than the tiny hole they are removed from. These videos are not for the faint hearted!

oceania

Meningitis C Vaccination Program in Fiji

We are very proud of our involvement with the UNICEF Champion for Children’s program, through our own Vax4Vax initiative. The 2018 outbreak of meningococcal C in Fiji is one example of UNICEF’s rapid response to children in need. UNICEF, WHO and the Fiji government recently launched a vaccination program aimed at providing immunisations to over 350,000 children and adolescents, after the country’s health department confirmed 34 cases up to the end of March. Travellers to Fiji should discuss this and other risks with a travel medicine specialist, as vaccination may be recommended.

Always relevant, the increase in meningococcal cases in Australia in the past few years has seen the ACWY vaccine offered free by the WA Health Department to age groups 1-4 years and 15-19 year olds and our clinic has plenty on hand for those who haven’t had theirs as yet. Individuals in other high risk groups are also encouraged to seek advice about the need for vaccination.

the russia world cup

FIFA World Cup – Russia 2018

Heading to Russia in June / July to watch the Socceroos? Here’s a few tips.
Security will be tight. Sources warn of possible anti-western sentiment due to recent world events. Be alert in public places and keep away from protests. Carry all documents at all times including your Fan ID and passport. Make copies and make sure your passport is in good condition and has an expiry of at least 6 months after your return date. Register your travel plans with DFAT, good advice for any overseas travel.

Severe penalties apply for possession or consumption of illicit substances, including ‘soft’ drugs. Medicines containing ‘narcotics’ (many commonly prescribed painkillers) or ‘psychoactive substances’ require a doctor’s letter (with Russian translation) listing the name, dose and reason.

What are the health risks attending the World Cup in Russia?

Like all travel to destinations where large numbers of people converge, respiratory illnesses (colds and flus) and gastrointestinal upsets are the most likely, although the latter is reduced if staying in high end accommodation. Diseases rarely encountered in Australia, such as rabies, tick-borne encephalitis and tuberculosis occur in Russia but are unlikely to be a problem for the average World Cup traveller staying in good accommodation in cities .

What about vaccines? We recommend all travellers attending large international gatherings have the latest flu shot (which has just become available) and make sure they are up to date with the measles vaccine (2 shots in a lifetime) or have natural immunity. A tetanus booster might not be a bad idea if due, and you may want to consider hepatitis A vaccination depending on future travel plans.
Need medical help ? Contact your travel insurance before calling an ambulance or attending a clinic/hospital otherwise your insurance might not cover you. Payment is usually required up front before treatment.

Finally, don’t drink too much vodka and keep a close eye on your friends if they do !

Dr Raphael Beilin