Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
- What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
- Traveler's diarrhea
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A
- Typhoid fever
- What about diseases for which there is no vaccine or preventive medication?
- What is safe to eat and drink while traveling?
- What can I do to avoid insect bites?
- What should be in my travel first aid kit?
- What are the medical concerns with jet lag?
- What if I have a medical condition or chronic disease?
- What if I'm pregnant?
- What about traveling with children?
- Where can I find additional information?
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
Why should travelers see a physician before they leave on a trip?
Travelers should see a physician before leaving for a trip if
- they are going to developing countries,
- they are visiting sites that are not on the usual tourist routes or traveling to high altitudes,
- they have chronic diseases that could be affected by travel,
- they are visiting countries that require vaccinations before they allow travelers to enter the country.
The goal of a pre-travel medical evaluation is to help travelers protect themselves against (1) common diseases that may be mild but that will disrupt their trip, and (2) less common diseases that may be serious or even fatal. All travelers need to be up to date on routine vaccines they would normally get if they were not traveling. For example, an annual influenza vaccination (flu shot) is recommended if traveling during influenza season. Travelers should also be up to date on tetanus vaccines. If a tetanus booster is needed, your physician may elect to use the Tdap vaccine that also provides continuing protect against adult pertussis. No vaccinations are required for re-entry into the United States after travel.
What diseases occur in travelers, and how can disease be prevented?
Travelers can pick up infections from contaminated food or water, from insect bites, animal bites, or from other people. Vaccinations, medications, and simple precautions can reduce or eliminate the risk of many of these travel-related infections. While infections are the most common problem for travelers, it is important to remember that the most common cause of death in travelers is motor vehicle accidents. Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street (especially in the United Kingdom, where oncoming traffic comes from the right), don't get in the car if the driver is drunk, and use seat belts if available both at home and when traveling.
This review will cover diseases commonly encountered by travelers or those for which vaccinations are recommended. For a more complete discussion, please refer to the CDC travel medicine web site (http://www.cdc.gov).
Next: Traveler's diarrhea
Viewers share their comments
Get the latest treatment options.