Preventing diseases in round-the-world travelers: A contemporary challenge for travel medicine advice

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Providing advice for travelers embarking on long-term trips poses a challenge in travel medicine. A long duration of risk exposure is associated with underuse of protective measures and poor adherence to chemoprophylaxis, increasing the chances of acquiring infections. Recently, in our clinic, we observed an increase in the number of travelers undertaking round-the-world trips. These individuals are typically aged around 32 years and quit their jobs to embark on one-to-two-year journeys. Their destinations include countries in two or more continents, invariably Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and mostly involve land travel and visiting rural areas. Such trips involve flexible plans, increasing the challenge, especially with regard to malaria prophylaxis. Advising round-the-world travelers is time-consuming because of the amount of information that must be provided to the traveler. Advisors must develop strategies to commit the traveler to his/her own health, and verify their learnings on disease-prevention measures. Contacting the advisor after the appointment or during the trip can be helpful to clarify unclear instructions or diagnosis made and prescriptions given abroad. Infectious diseases are among the most frequent problems affecting travelers, many of which are preventable by vaccines, medicines, and precautionary measures. The dissemination of counterfeit medicines, particularly antibiotics and antimalarial medicines, emphasizes the need for travelers to carry medicines that they may possibly need on their trip. Additional advice on altitude, scuba diving, and other possible risks may also be given. Considering the difficulties in advising this group, we present a review of the main recommendations on advising these travelers.




Rodrigues, K. M. de P., & Moreira, B. M. (2018, March 1). Preventing diseases in round-the-world travelers: A contemporary challenge for travel medicine advice. Revista Da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical. Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical.

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