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Prevention and Treatment

Advance planning can help prevent many travellers' diseases. Check the Australian Smart Traveller website. Prior to a trip, people should consult with their doctor and verify that they have been vaccinated for diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, polio, and tetanus and if any boosters are needed to maintain a protective level of antibodies. They should discuss their travel plans and get additional vaccinations as recommended for diseases such as hepatitis A, yellow fever, typhoid fever and meningococcal disease. For information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, USA) on vaccinations, visit their Travelers' Health web site.

If they are going to go to areas where malaria is prevalent, they will usually be given chemoprophylaxis, such as mefloquine, doxycycline or chloroquine, to begin taking prior to their trip. These medications will need to be taken regularly during the trip and for a specified time period after the traveller's return. Some doctors may give their patients antimicrobial agents to take with them along with instructions on how and when they should be taken if symptoms appear during their trip.

Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have current information on traveller’s health and preventative strategies. They also have up-to-date country- and region-specific travellers' disease information (see Related Pages tab).

In spite of taking every precaution, travellers may still become ill, either during their trip or several months after they have returned home. In general, the earlier the travellers' diseases are detected and diagnosed, the easier they are to treat. Travellers should know which symptoms signal the need to seek prompt medical care in the country they are visiting and which may be safely self-medicated. For several months after their return home, they should note any symptoms that occur and bring them to their doctor's attention.

Last Review Date: August 14, 2017