METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Makkah and Malaysia during the 2013 hajj season. A self-administered proforma on social demographics, previous experience of hajj or umrah, smoking habits, co-morbid illness and practices of preventive measures against respiratory illness were obtained.
RESULTS: A total of 468 proforma were analysed. The prevalence of the respiratory illness was 93.4% with a subset of 78.2% fulfilled the criteria for influenza-like illness (ILI). Most of them (77.8%) had a respiratory illness of <2 weeks duration. Approximately 61.8% were administered antibiotics but only 2.1% of them had been hospitalized. Most of them acquired the infection after a brief stay at Arafat (81.2%). Vaccination coverages for influenza virus and pneumococcal disease were quite high, 65.2% and 59.4%, respectively. For other preventive measures practices, only 31.8% of them practiced good hand hygiene, ∼82.9% of pilgrims used surgical face masks, N95 face masks, dry towels, wet towels or veils as their face masks. Nearly one-half of the respondents (44.4%) took vitamins as their food supplement. Malaysian hajj pilgrims with previous experience of hajj (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.10-0.56) or umrah (OR 0.19; 95% CI 0.07-0.52) and those who have practiced good hand hygiene (OR 0.35; 95% CI 0.16-0.79) were found to be significantly associated with lower risk of having respiratory illness. Otherwise, pilgrims who had contact with those with respiratory illness (OR 2.61; 95% CI 1.12-6.09) was associated with higher risk.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of respiratory illness remains high among Malaysian hajj pilgrims despite having some practices of preventive measures. All preventive measures which include hand hygiene, wearing face masks and influenza vaccination must be practiced together as bundle of care to reduce respiratory illness effectively.
Methods: Coroners' files for the 25 years between 1993 and 2017 were interrogated. All cases of death on or at the cliffs were examined, and demographic data were extracted, including date of death, gender, age, nationality, whether the victims were alone at the cliffs prior to their death, whether the fall was witnessed, prevailing weather conditions, post-mortem examinations, toxicology reports and inquest verdicts.
Results: Overall, 66 deaths occurred on or at the base of the Cliffs of Moher during the period 1993 through August 2017. In total, 18 (27.3%) of the victims were international visitors to Ireland, including 11 males (61.1%). The mean age of travellers (n = 17) was 34.2 years. Victims were nationals of 12 different countries, with 13 being European nationals. Most deaths occurred in summer (n = 7) or spring (n = 6), with eight deaths (44%) reported at weekends. In total, 15 victims (83.3%) had walked along the cliff path alone. A jump or fall from the cliffs was witnessed in only two cases (11.1%). Post-mortem examinations revealed multiple traumatic injuries consistent with a fall from a height. Four cases had evidence of alcohol intoxication. Suicide or open verdicts were returned in 50% (n = 9) of the cases.
Conclusions: Travelling alone to the site, purchasing one-way tickets, or depositing belongings on the clifftop support the possibility of suicidal intent, while being intoxicated could be a co-factor in suicidal jumps or support the possibility of an accidental fall. This knowledge could help to identify travellers at the greatest risk of death at cliffs.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with severely obese patients attending a regional, structured, multidisciplinary lifestyle modification programme. Coding and thematic analysis of the transcripts were completed by three independent researchers. A thematic analysis was performed based on examination of the transcribed interviews. Demographic and clinical data such as gender, age and body mass index were also recorded.
RESULTS: Twelve patients (six males), with a mean age of 54 ± 5.98 years and a mean body mass index of 46.2 ± 8.2 kg/m2, agreed to semi-structured interviews (14-52-minute duration). The principal themes emerging from the interviews included obese air traveller embarrassment, physical discomfort on commercial flights, perceived weight bias, challenges in accessing hotel rooms, heat intolerance in warm climates, restricted leisure travel activities and medical co-morbidities. Most of the interviewees perceived a health benefit to travel but regarded obesity as a significant barrier to international travel.
CONCLUSION: These findings highlight the limitations experienced by obese travellers when engaging in international travel. Our results may inform the pre-travel health advice given to obese travellers. They might also serve to raise awareness among operators within the travel industry of the difficulties travellers with severe obesity face.
Methods: The PubMed database was searched for relevant literature relating to the health of medical elective students. Combinations of the following key words were used as search terms: 'international health elective', 'medical student' and 'health risks'. Articles were restricted to those published in English from 1997 through June 2017. A secondary review of the reference lists of these articles was performed. The grey literature was also searched for relevant material.
Results: This narrative literature review outlines the risks of clinical electives in resource-poor settings which include exposure to infectious illness, trauma, sexual health problems, excessive sun exposure, mental health issues and crime. Medical students may mitigate these health risks by being informed and well prepared for high-risk situations. The authors provide evidence-based travel advice which aims to improve pre-travel preparation and maximize student traveller safety. A safer and more enjoyable elective may be achieved if students follow road safety advice, take personal safety measures, demonstrate cultural awareness, attend to their psychological wellbeing and avoid risk-taking behaviours.
Conclusion: This article may benefit global health educators, international elective coordinators and travel medicine practitioners. For students, a comprehensive elective checklist, an inventory of health kit items and useful web-based educational resources are provided to help prepare for electives abroad.
Methods: A review of the literature was conducted using the PubMed database. Search terms included: 'repatriation of remains', 'death', 'abroad', 'tourism', 'travel', 'travellers', 'travelling' and 'repatriation'. Additional articles were obtained from grey literature sources and reference lists.
Results: The local national embassy, travel insurance broker and tour operator are important sources of information to facilitate the repatriation of the deceased traveller. Formal identification of the deceased's remains is required and a funeral director must be appointed. Following this, the coroner in the country or jurisdiction receiving the repatriated remains will require a number of documents prior to providing clearance for burial. Costs involved in repatriating remains must be borne by the family of the deceased although travel insurance may help defray some of the costs. If the death is secondary to an infectious disease, cremation at the site of death is preferred. No standardized procedure is in place to deal with the remains of a migrant's body at present and these remains are often not repatriated to their country of origin.
Conclusions: Repatriation of human remains is a difficult task which is emotionally challenging for the bereaving family and friends. As a travel medicine practitioner, it is prudent to discuss all eventualities, including the risk of death, during the pre-travel consultation. Awareness of the procedures involved in this process may ease the burden on the grieving family at a difficult time.
Methods: Articles published in the English language on the PubMed database that were relevant to surgical tourism and the complications of elective surgical procedures abroad were examined. Reference lists of articles identified were further scrutinized. The search terms used included combinations of 'surgery abroad', 'cosmetic surgery abroad', 'cosmetic surgery tourism', 'cosmetic surgery complications' and 'aesthetic tourism'.
Results: This article critically reviews the epidemiology of cosmetic surgical tourism and its associated economic factors. Surgical complications of selected procedures, including perioperative complications, are described. The implications for travel medicine practice are considered and recommendations for further research are proposed.
Conclusion: This narrative literature review focuses on the issues affecting travellers who obtain cosmetic surgical treatment overseas. There is a lack of focus in the travel medicine literature on the non-surgery-related morbidity of this special group of travellers. Original research exploring the motivation and pre-travel preparation, including the psychological counselling, of cosmetic surgical tourists is indicated.