Paul Ananth Tambyah, MD, Dept. of Medicine, Infectious Disease, National University of Singapore, provides an overview of infection control approach for travelers with either epidemic or endemic diseases from various parts of the world.
Paul Anath Tambyah, MD, Dept. of Medicine, Infectious Disease, National University of Singapore, Board Member National Society of Infectious Disease, and Secretary General of Asia Pacific for Clinical Microbiology and Infection: The biggest issue is actually lack of
information. And they are sort of there are services such as Promed which is run by the ISID, which give us an idea as to what's going on. But in reality a lot of the reason why we don't have information is because of the lack of diagnostic capability in many developing countries. So travelers go to these countries and they don't have the ability to be diagnosed, so when they come back nobody knows whether they've just got a flu or whether they've got some really unusual infection. So I think a big part of the infection control response to emerging infectious diseases which potentially are hazardous to travelers is raising the capacity in the host countries.
There's a standard travel medicine advises you cook it, you peel it, you leave it. We also tell people to be aware of what's going on, like for example in countries with avian flu outbreaks they should ideally stay away from live animal markets or from farms. And in general, you know just simple basic hygiene strategies would probably work.
Well you know I began my presentations talking about tuberculosis, and tuberculosis is a very old disease, but in recent years there's been the emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and there have been cases, not many, in travelers who transmit multi drug-resistant TB. Of course the big one that everyone's concerned about is influenza.