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Half of those travelling internationally not aware of potential health risks
Date:11/3/2010

"These results suggest that the Internet and PCPs are two promising avenues for disseminating information about traveling safely," says the study's lead author Regina C. LaRocque, MD, MPH, of MGH's Division of Infectious Diseases. "Offering online resources at the time of ticket purchase or through popular travel websites would likely reach a large audience of people in need of health advice."

The rapid global spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003 and new influenza strains in 2009 exemplified the role played by travelers in disseminating infectious diseases. More recently, dengue fever a tropical disease found mainly in the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia has been reported in the southern United States. In India, an epidemic of Chikungunya a viral infection characterized by fever, headache, weakness and joint pain was spread to Italy by travelers.

"International travel is the primary way many infections traverse the world," says Edward Ryan, MD, director of the Tropical and Geographic Medicine Center in the Division of Infectious Diseases at MGH and a senior author of the study. "What many people don't realize is that, without seeking the correct health information, they are putting themselves at increased risk of infection, as well as creating a public health risk in their home communities after they return."


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Contact: Jennifer Gundersen Harris
jgundersen1@partners.org
617-724-6433
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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