- Ugur Akinci, Ph.D., Nurse-Recruiter.com
Nurse Organization Issues White Paper for
International Traveler Health Safeguards
808 million people traveled internationally in 2005. Americans
made almost 62 million trips abroad in 2004, which translates
to about 1 in every 5 U.S. residents.
With the increasing number of people traveling internationally,
the risk of diseases carried across national boundaries
also increases. The global society brings with itself global
health risks as well.
Among the travel-related diseases most frequently mentioned
in the press stories are malaria, travelers' diarrhea,
hepatitis A, HIV, various STDs, typhoid, and meningitis.
That issue was addressed in a new white paper released
by Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation (NPHF), written
by Nancy Rudner Lugo, DrPH, NP.
The NPHF paper warned that most travelers do not know
anything about such risks and when they do become aware
of the danger, it usually proves to be too late.
Only a handful of travelers made sure they received any
shots before they flew abroad: 11% for tetanus, 14% for
hepatitis A, 13% for hepatitis B, and 5% for yellow fever. 58.4%
and 68.7% of travelers reported that they did not receive
protection against hepatitis A or hepatitis B, respectively.
This is where NPFH says the nurses have an important role
to play both in terms of making the American public aware
of the various health dangers lurking out there and also
in terms of providing practical and effective means of
protection against them.
Consistent with that approach, the Center of Disease Control
in Atlanta also recommends that "international travelers
contact a healthcare provider for pre-travel advice at
least 4 to 6 weeks before travel in order to obtain current
health information, vaccinations, and prophylactic medications
( e.g., for malaria, traveler's diarrhea)."
Here are the NPFH recommendations to all the nurses and
"Raise awareness of the need for travel health
care before, during, and after travel. Initiate
a comprehensive, multi-tiered approach to travel health
education, targeting consumers, healthcare professionals,
health information systems, and policy formulation.
Incorporate travel health education and assessment
into routine primary care . Encourage patients
to self-identify their travel needs. Create an environment
of travel health reminders in the practice.
Increase primary care providers' knowledge of
travel health and safety. Include
travel immunization content, use of over-the-counter
products, and resources for travel health and safety
in core curricula for primary care professionals.
Increase access to travel health services. Encourage
primary care practices to offer travel health services.
Engage in research on travel health."
Visit http://www.nphealthcarefoundation.org/news/ for the
full text of the white paper.