Welcome to our second travel health round-up (see the first round-up here), in which we share travel health related blog posts and news items that we find interesting, occasionally disgusting, and often instructive. If you have any suggestions for the next one, get in touch.
Getting Sick on the Road: Two Years of Illness
Similar to Jodi’s tale in our first round-up, Tracy and her family recount a couple years worth of travel health disasters. This one may be hard to outdo, however. We’re talking about everything from fire coral to electrocution and even a bout of pre-trip thyroid cancer. Thankfully, everyone has survived these ordeals. These stories are an entertaining (and at times, traumatic) read, but there are also lessons to be learned here as well, one of them being: make sure to take out travel insurance! Follow Tracy and her family at ourtravellifestyle.com.
Pharaoh’s Revenge (The Egyptian Tummy Bug)
This story on Art of Backpacking, written by Mara of Egypt with Mara, addresses a subject we are all too familiar with: traveler’s diarrhea, or in this case, Pharaoh’s Revenge. We appreciate this post; in addition to describing the illness and the treatment, Mara makes a point to distinguish between the Egyptian tummy bug and plain old upset stomach. Her parting words implore us to enjoy our travels in Egpyt and to not be overly concerned or paranoid about getting a stomach bug. Good advice; be careful without sacrificing the experience. Thanks, Mara!
Why Delhi Belly is a Good Thing
Delhi Belly is yet another term for traveler’s diarrhea, this one coming from India. Mariellen directed us to this post and after the initial confusion (Delhi Belly is a good thing.. wait, what!?), we were pleasantly surprised to discover a movie that’s now on the top of our list of things to see. The film combines aspects of western and Indian film to create something that is entertaining while also serving as a sort of de facto Indian ambassador to the world. Check out the post and the included trailer, and have a look around Mariellen’s site – herself, a great ambassador of India.
New Social Network Connects People Based on Gastrointestinal Bacteria
Dave (on twitter at @TLWH) from The Longest Way Home tweeted this story yesterday and we were especially interested given our recent article about probiotics for travel. MyMicrobes, a German company, is inviting people to join an exclusive social network for those who suffer from GI issues. Here’s how it works: you send MyMicrobes a fecal sample (as in, you mail it Germany. Yes, we’re serious.) and they sequence your gut bacteria, after which you get access to a social network populated by people who have GI issues themselves. The idea is the MyMicrobes acquires valuable genomic data from intestinal bacteria and you get access to a premier resource that may help you overcome your GI issues. The only catch? It costs $2,000.
New Hope for ‘Crazy’ Malaria Vaccine
There is currently no vaccine for malaria. As it stands, travelers take prophylactics and try to prevent bites as much as possible. Several vaccines are in the works and this one, pioneered by a biotech company called Sanaria, just got some positive news from recent studies. The proposed vaccine is called crazy because it involves removing the salivary glands on the mosquito to make the vaccine. In other words, the salivary glands have to be removed from many mosquitos to produce a sufficient quantity of the vaccine (see photo). In the most recent animal study, the vaccine conferred between 71% and 100% immunity, a big step up from the 50% seen by the current favorite, the RTS,S vaccine.
Conflicting reports are emerging from the Bahamas, where it is being claimed by some that a Dengue Fever outbreak is underway. The local government in Grand Bahama is saying otherwise, perhaps to protect the island’s tourism. Here is a relevant editorial from a local paper. Finally, there is a confirmed outbreak of Dengue Fever in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Again, conflicting reports between government sources and health workers make it difficult to get an accurate picture, but it would seem that as in the case of the Bahamas, the local government is underestimating the number of people affected.
Have any travel health blog posts or news stories that caught your attention recently? Please share them in the comments. If you have a travel health story that you would like to share with our audience, please contact us at info at sickontheroad dot com – we are happy to take guest posts about travel health topics!