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COMMENTARY
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-44

Travel health - Travel medicine


Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, WHO Collaborating Centre of Travellers' Health, Zurich, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
Robert Steffen
Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84/E29, CH-8001 Zurich
Switzerland
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DOI: 10.4103/2468-6360.198796

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In the post-World War II period, modern travel medicine was created as an interdisciplinary field not limited to tropical medicine and infectious diseases, but including also dive and high-altitude physiology, geriatrics, public health, etc. The goal is to keep future travellers alive and healthy, and to provide returning travellers with illness or sequelae of accidents the best possible care. With respect to both mortality and morbidity, we now have a broad idea about what is frequent, what in contrast is rare. However, particularly, the World Health Organization requests that more quality data should be generated to assure a safe evidence base for preventive recommendations. The lack of consensus on a global scale is the illustration that even 'experts' so far do not agree on all measures, be they advise immunisation or medication. A further challenge is that we are living in a constantly changing world. Hygienic conditions have improved in some locations, particularly such frequently visited by tourists and businessmen and women; also some infections are being eliminated or reduced by international efforts. On the other hand, new threats are emerging - infectious and other. Thus, in the coming decades, we must create an improved database. We must continue to be vigilant based on coordinated surveillance and we must continue to spread the news to both the travelling public and those health professionals advising them pre-departure, also those in charge of diagnosis and treatment in those returning ill or with injuries.


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