Keep up to date on the latest disease epidemics

Don’t wait for the media to break the news — keep an eye out for worldwide disease epidemics on ProMED (Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases), a website by the International Society for Infectious Diseases. ProMED is dedicated to rapidly reporting global disease outbreaks that affect human health, as well as related animal vector outbreaks. The site was developed primarily for physicians and public health professionals, but is readily accessible to the average traveler. There is a bit of medical jargon to pick through, but there is a lot of valuable information, especially for those venturing beyond the typical tourist haunts.

The World Health Organization has a similar site, Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response, devoted to epidemic updates, which is easier for the non-medical professional to understand, though it does not go nearly as in-depth as the ProMED site.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an excellent Traveler’s Health page which focuses on every region of the world, including pre-trip checklists, necessary vaccinations, and ways to avoid illness when abroad.

The CDC also inspects cruise ships and posts their inspection shores on its Green Sheet. While most ships scored high on the criteria (including disease reporting, food storage, and water supply safety), there were ships that did not make the passing mark of 85, including Stad Amsterdam, coming in with a dismal 62 rating, the lowest score reported.

With these websites and a pre-trip doctor visit, travelers can take precautions to avoid being caught up in a disease epidemic. There’s nothing like a case of the avian influenza to ruin a trip.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | February 27, 2007
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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