Protecting Travelers from Illness Abroad
When making your “to-do” list for your next trip abroad, be sure to include a visit to Abington’s Travel Medicine. Dangerous infectious diseases that we hear little about in the United States are more likely to be encountered in many other locales.
What’s more, staying in luxury hotels, visiting popular tourist destinations, or traveling on deluxe cruise ships does little to reduce your risks of contracting illnesses while on personal or business travel abroad.
Services for All Travelers
The board-certified infectious disease physicians at Travel Medicine understand who is at risk and monitor disease outbreaks worldwide, in order to help all travelers stay healthy. Those using Travel Medicine services include:
- business travelers,
- Peace Corps and emergency aid volunteers,
- missionaries who travel regularly,
- naturalized citizens visiting their homelands, and others.
Travel Medicine receives data on where specific risks and epidemics are occurring – gathered from government agencies, a travel medicine subscription service and infectious disease professional literature.
Each Travel Medicine patient sees an infectious disease physician. Based upon continuously updated information and the planned itinerary, every traveler receives:
- recommended vaccinations,
- preventive medications,
- activity cautions,
- review of chronic conditions and medications being taken,
- needed prescriptions,
- advice on food and water safety, preventing mosquito and other insect bites, and how to minimize infections while traveling.
Travelers receive protection for a wide range of diseases, depending upon where their trip will take them, including:
Yellow fever: Now active in South America and Africa. Yellow fever vaccine, required for travel to certain mosquito-prone areas, is available only at authorized centers (Abington’s Travel Medicine is one) which issue proof of vaccination. As a designated center, we also receive notices about worldwide yellow fever outbreaks.
Malaria: Found in Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Oral medication can protect, but strains of malaria in certain areas have become drug-resistant. Our expertise and updated resources help us prescribe the right medication for each area.
Hepatitis A: Although less common in the U.S. and Canada, hepatitis A is a greater risk worldwide, especially in Mexico, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Central and South America. Even Greenland is affected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers hepatitis A “one of the most common vaccine-preventable infections acquired during travel.” We provide recommended immunization.
Travelers’ diarrhea: This woe afflicts as many as 50 percent of those traveling abroad. The debilitating infection, transmitted through food and water, may spread by food handlers or ice use. Travel Medicine patients receive prescriptions for the correct antibiotic for the area they’ll be visiting (some bacteria have become resistant) and are advised to take the medicine along as it may be unavailable locally when they need it.
Travelers with Medical Concerns
Infectious diseases can be especially harmful to travelers with special medical needs, such as those with chronic conditions such as heart disease or compromised immune systems due to cancer, diabetes, HIV or liver ailments. Review by a Travel Medicine doctor can determine risk and prevention strategies.
Pregnant women need protection from influenza and malaria. The CDC recommends they receive influenza vaccinations, but many pregnant women go unprotected because they don’t realize that flu is active at different times around the world. Similarly, although the CDC advises pregnant women to stay out of malaria areas, women may continue with their plans anyway. Travel Medicine physicians can advise women which malaria medications are safe to take during pregnancy.
Travelers are advised to visit the office a month before their trips, to receive all needed immunizations and review their medical records. Along with the vaccination fee, an office fee may apply. Vaccinations offered at the office are generally not covered by insurance.
For an appointment at Abington’s Travel Medicine, please call 215-481-6350.
Todd Braun, M.D.
Braun is a graduate of Hahnemann Medical College. He completed his residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center and an Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Temple University Hospital. The current chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Abington, Braun received the Golden Apple Teaching Award at AMH in 1998 and 2007.
Maureen Cassin, M.D.
A graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine, Cassin completed her residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert R. Dee, M.D.
Dee is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine and completed both his residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Temple University Health Sciences Center. Dee is the director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Abington.
Joseph A. Hassey, M.D.
A graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, Hassey completed his residency at Pennsylvania Hospital and an Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Hassey is the coordinator of the teaching program in the Division of Infectious Diseases, where medical students, residents, and Drexel University Infectious Diseases fellows rotate.
John J. Kelly, M.D.
A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Kelly finished his residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and subsequently his MBA in Management and Health Care Administration at LaSalle University. Kelly is Abington's chief of staff and chief medical officer, and is also chief patient safety officer.
Roger E. Nieman, M.D.
Nieman is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He completed his residency and Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Temple University Hospital. Nieman is emeritus chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and a recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching at AMH.
Jaclyn Rosenzweig, M.D.
A graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, Rosenzweig completed her residency at Boston University Medical Center and an Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Temple University Hospital.