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Travel Health Around the Web: August 6

travel health round-up

Sick on the Road intends to provide well organized, readable information and advice on travel health issues. As much as possible, we try to back up our advice with first hand experience (see our SteriPen Traveler review or this piece on amoebic dysentery, for example).

Fortunately, there are many infections, parasites and illnesses we have not yet encountered — but other people have! Consider this a chance to learn from the experiences of others. We’ve also selected a few relevant blog posts that offer specific advice. To round it out, we share some recent travel health news stories.

Three Years of Sickness and Travel, By the Numbers from Legal Nomads

Jodi’s blog is typically a delight. Her writing is thoughtful and descriptive and her posts are always well composed and engaging. She also takes some lovely pictures and does her best to give her readers a hunger attack from her descriptive posts on food (tip: don’t read on an empty stomach). This post, however, you should read on an empty stomach, as it chronicles 3 years of getting sick on the road. It’s an entertaining read, but also an insightful one. There’s a lot to learn here, starting with “don’t eat llama.”

The Simple Answers To Your Most Frequent Travel Insurance Questions from Fox Nomad

Anil’s travel blog covers a lot of ground, from first person narrative writing and photography to practical how-to and advice articles on a range of subjects. His posts are substantive and helpful and his presentation is consistently unique. We loved his most recent post on travel insurance: “Sure, getting travel insurance is easy, but finding out what’s covered and how to use it isn’t quite a clear cut and often full of disappointing surprises if you’re not prepared.” In this post, Anil does a great job looking at the finer, often overlooked, points of travel insurance.

The Art of Squatting from Girl, Unstoppable

Ekua’s engaging writings do a great job of really exploring the travel experience. Many blogs have shied away from the narrative form, so it’s refreshing to read a blog from an author that is skilled at delivering honest reflection. This post, while not a recent one, offers some great advice, especially if you are a traveling female. It’s also a fun read and a great introduction to non-western toilets.

Travel Health in the News

‘Superbugs’ in our food

In the US, Cargill recently recalled 36 million pounds of turkey products due to salmonella poisoning that has killed one man and hospitalized 79 others. This editorial touches on that story and then focuses on the consequences of heavy antibiotic use in American factory farms. Did you know that cipro, a medication widely used for traveler’s diarrhea and other bacterial infections, is used in factory farms? As a result, cipro is becoming increasingly ineffective for both humans and animals. By giving this antibiotic to farm animals, American factory farms are giving bacteria more chances to become resistant.

Scientists find first superbug strain of gonorrhea

A new strain of gonorrhea in Japan is completely resistant to all antibiotics that have previously been used to treat the disease. Scientists estimate that it could reach all parts of the globe in the next several decades.

Ghana Joins 14 Other African Nations in Eradicating Guinea Worm

Ending on a positive note, Ghana has just eradicated guinea worm. Congratulations are due to Ghana and the Carter Center — this fight took 23 years. If you are unfamiliar with guinea worm, check out our earlier article on it. It is an excruciating and debilitating disease that has no cure or vaccine. It remains in just 3 countries (South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia). If it is completely eradicated, it will be the first time a disease has been eradicated based on behavior changes alone.

Read any interesting travel health stories recently? Have one yourself? Let us know in the comments.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Jodi August 6, 2011, 11:40 am

    Thanks for including me in the roundup. Definitely apt for this site! I learned my lesson: no more llama empanadas, no matter how tasty they look.

    • admin August 6, 2011, 1:59 pm

      may we never speak of the ‘llama empanada’ again..

  • Matt August 6, 2011, 12:59 pm

    The proliferation of “superbugs” is probably the most important thing we should be acting on. The FDA approval process has really hindered the advancement of new antibiotics. Over the past 25 years we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of approved antibiotics while seeing a steady increase in resistant strains of various bugs.

    • admin August 6, 2011, 2:01 pm

      Yep Matt, you’re right. It also doesn’t help that antibiotics are seen as one of the least profitable drugs for pharmaceutical companies. It would of course be profitable for them if there was an epidemic, but you can’t just produce an antibiotic instantly, when you may need it most. This is indeed something people and governments should be very concerned about.

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