Monday, 16 December 2013

Malaria No More UK

Malaria No More UK is part of the global fight against malaria.  So far they've helped to protect over 10 million people from the disease.  One of the Special Ambassadors for the charity is Jo Yirrell who I know many of you remember in a series of lectures she gave at study days in the past.  For more detail on Jo and her work with Malaria No More see here
Jo's story was part of the inspiration behind Richard Curtis making a film called 'Mary and Martha' that was shown on BBC earlier this year.  This TV film  powerfully conveyed how no parent anywhere should lost their child to a preventable disease.  It moved and influenced many audiences across the world.  Malaria No More have made a five minute film narrated by Jo, telling her own story and her support for Malaria No More UK.  To watch it click here or on the image below.  
Jo, you're doing a fantastic job and remain a true inspiration.  

Take a look at the work of 'MALARIA NO MORE UK' 

To learn more of the work of Malaria No More UK go to 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Where did November go to?

Well the month is nearly over and I haven't been on here for while.....been busy this month travelling quite a bit.  Went with my husband to Washington D.C. where the annual conference for the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene was being held.  Amongst many sights, I visited the Washington National Cathedral and was stunned by the number of beautiful stained glass windows in the building in particular.   It was a very sunny day so the natural light pouring through the windows created an amazing effect.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

QR Codes

QR Code is an abbreviation for 'Quick Response Code' which is the trademark for a two dimensional barcode originally developed for the car trade in Japan!  You may have seen these images of square black dots arranged in a square shape on a white background on adverts in magazines, bill boards etc.  If you have an Android, Blackberry or Apple iOS phone you can download a free QR reader which will read the code and then take your device to the item it is storing the information data about.  So for example, if your reader was to scan the first QR code inserted below - it would take you directly to the Vaccine Timeline chart on my last blog!  Just a bit of fun but also a quick way of accessing resources!

Here's another one - where does this take you ?  

Updated chart for the timeline of vaccines in the UK

I was very excited to see an updated chart of the 'Historical vaccine development and introduction of vaccines in the UK' when browsing the Public Health England website today.  Published on 4th October 2013, it includes all the recent vaccines added into the UK programmes. These are making us particularly busy in General Practice right now in the midst the flu campaign as well.  Practice Nurses are coping with all of this alongside their normal workload - I know many are finding it particularly stressful but thank you for doing an amazing job out there!  For a copy of the chart just click the image below.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Travelling Well - or not?

The video below is the brainchild of Dr Deb, a Travel Medicine expert who has been practising since 1988.  The 16 minute film covers aspects of travel related illness in a comprehensive but light hearted way that is very easy and enjoyable to watch.  With a cast of many, one is Dr Reggie Cooke who I met in about 1997 at the first conference of the British Travel Health Association.  From Northern Ireland, Reggie has now moved to Australia and is working in Dr Deb's clinic, utilising his travel medicine skills!  I've also put this video link on the video page of  my website - see here or also click the image below to start up the film.

World Rabies Day today!

World Rabies Day is observed each year on 28 September - on the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur who developed the first efficacious rabies vaccine with his colleagues.  This day is the 7th of these such events and it aims to raise awareness about the impact of rabies on human beings and animals, and provide information on how to prevent the disease.  The Global Alliance for Rabies Control is the leading organization working for the global prevention of rabies.  They have some powerful information on their website and some helpful educational videos - see here or click on image of the home page below.

Global Alliance fot Rabies Control 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

New EMC has gone live!

The Electronics Medicines Compendium has been promising the launch of new features on their website for a while now and it has just gone live.  You need to register but once done (it was a very simple process) you then can use facilities to 'Bookmark Medicines', 'Save Searches' and 'Receive updates about the EMC'.  I'm trying to update my malaria chemoprophylaxis chart so have already book marked the relevant drugs, a very handy feature.  Click on the image below to register!  

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New website from Sanofi Pasteur MSD for travel health and also flu!

Sanofi Pasteur MSD (SPMSD) have created a new informative, visually attractive and easy to navigate website for travellers at Aimed at saving time in the pre travel health consultation, the website gives travellers the opportunity to compile relevant information about their forthcoming trip before arriving for their appointment in the clinic.  A section entitled 'my records' is yet to be launched online but will provide a record of previous vaccinations and be able to set up handy e-mail or text message reminders for the next appointment.  A separate section for healthcare professionals will also provide information about SPMSD vaccines, e learning content on travel and useful links.  Click on the image below to see the website.

A website all about flu is also available.  This includes a very useful section about 'How the immune system works'.  To go directly to this section click HERE and to go to the home page of the website, click on the image below.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

2013 Malaria Guidelines

Guidelines for malaria prevention in travellers from the UK updated for 2013 have been published on 22nd August 2013 - see here for details.  This guidance has been long awaited and to download the PDF directly click on the image below.  I've written a document about 'what's new' in the document - to see this go to the news page of my website by clicking here 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

New Guidance Toolkit for Tattooing and Body Piercing

There is no regulation for these procedures so a new guidance document has been compiled by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Public Health England, the Health and Safety Laboratory and the Tattooing and Piercing Industry Union.  Within the document are some helpful appendices e.g. protocols and some information leaflets for after care following a tattoo or body piercing procedure.  Whilst written as guidance for those working in this industry to promote best practice, the document provides interesting and useful reading for healthcare professionals.

To see information on the CIEH click here
To see information on the PHE click here
To obtain a copy of the document directly click on the image below

Friday, 2 August 2013

Another page added to my website

I've recently added a 'What's New' page to my website found within the 'Home' menu.  This page lets users know items that have been more recently been adde,d or any items updated on the site.  Click on the image below to go directly to the page.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Blast from the Past!

I was surfing the internet for some travel related information the other day and came across this leaflet that used to be available from the Post Office - do you remember it?  It was a good publication, but I don't think it's available any longer - at least it certainly isn't displayed in the leaflet holders.  It was published in 2005, introduced the new EHIC card and had a good section on provision of healthcare in other countries.   I've attached the link here so that you can have a look if you like - just click on the image!

Click on the image above to
obtain the PDF of the publication 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Imported Malaria in South East London

A press release was published on the Public Health England website about the high number of cases of malaria in returning travellers who live in south east London.  A report published, identifies that 4,311 people were confirmed with malaria between 2000 and 2011.  Where a borough of residence was known, Southwark had the highest number of case, followed by Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Bexley and Bromley.  Read the press report for more information.  To view the report, click on the image below.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

CISTM 13 in Maastricht

I have just returned from the 13th conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine which was held in Maastricht from 19th - 23rd May 2013.  This is the largest meeting of travel medicine practitioners held every two years and this time there were in excess of 1300 delegates.  Sessions run concurrently from 8am to 6.30pm and its a challenge to keep up with the pace!  I was presenting on the topic of 'Helping the Professional Communicate Risk'.  There is little information on the subject in the travel medicine literature so it was interesting to write and present.  A wonderful feature of the meeting is the 'networking' of fellow travel medicine colleagues.  Over the years I've built up many good friendships not only with UK based people, but many colleagues abroad as well.  During the meeting the Committee of the Travel Health Nurses in The Netherlands held a 'Meet and Greet' lunchtime gathering.  This was a great event where we were gifted with many Dutch treats, participated in a quiz and then participated in a 'speed networking' activity discussing many issues in the travel medicine field across the globe!  It was a great event and their hard work to provide such a 'party' was much appreciated.

Below is a photograph of three friends - from left to right, Karen Avery from the USA, Susan Koeman who is the Nurse Consultant in LCR (which is the National Coordination Travel Advice Centre in The Netherlands - see here ) and Rhonda Martin also from the USA who I know from many years ago as she was then a student on the Diploma in Travel Medicine course in Glasgow!

The next big travel medicine meeting abroad for me is the 5th Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine in Bergen, Norway 5 - 8 June 2014 -  and the next meeting of of the ISTM will be held on Quebec City, Canada 24 - 28 May 2015!

Thursday, 4 April 2013


I've created a new page on my website entitled 'HELP' which will link you to resources by topic.  So far I've put lots of Immunisation Resources and Vaccine Storage information on there.  I intend to add to this list as time goes so keep looking!  You'll find the page under the 'News' heading on the top menu but also click here to take a look!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A trip to India

I went to Tamil Nadu earlier this month to the Seventh International Short Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine.  This comprises a group of 30 doctors learning by means of lectures in the morning followed by laboratory diagnostics work, then clinical ward rounds during the afternoon in the Christian Medical College in Vellore. The work of this wonderful hospital is famous throughout the world, patients travel from all parts of India to be treated there and it was very special to be present for a second visit.  My husband Peter teaches on the course and this year I also gave a lecture.  Some facts from the 2012 annual report of CMC reveal the main hospital and its outlying units had in total 2736 beds, employed 1187 doctors and 2491 nurses last year and saw 6378 outpatients every day!

Click here for the report with further fascinating facts.  Details of the course can be found by clicking here

Oh, and while on a wander in the hospital grounds we pictured some monkeys preening themselves on the ledges of a building in temperatures of 34 C plus!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year!

I've never seen the fireworks in London at first hand and so decided this year as the rain had stopped and it wasn't too cold or too far to travel, to see if I could see them in person!  However, we were possibly too late to get a good spot and by the time we got there all access to the river was closed off and we found ourselves 'cordoned off' on the Strand, very near to Waterloo Bridge with no view of any fireworks at all.  The atmosphere was jovial to begin with, but then the crowds (some very drunk) started to surge and it was all we could do to stay upright due to the force of people shoving and pushing.  It made me appreciate just how dangerous a mass gathering situation like that can be and it certainly wasn't pleasurable.  So I caught the fireworks the next day on the BBC iPlayer and next year think I'll stay firmly at home.... much more comfortable!  There in the peace of your home you can also travel the world on the news seeing the New Year start in many different countries - a cheap form of travelling the globe!