Thursday, 31 December 2015

As 2015 draws to a close.....

I haven't written on the Blog much this Autumn, its been a frantic time and I apologise for that.   However, I do write on my Travel Health Training Ltd. Facebook page here quite often.  I'm aware not all of you belong to FB though and don't want to use this social media so in 2016 I will endeavor to put the posting from there onto the Blog as well!

In the meantime, wishing you good health, happiness and good fortune in 2016! 

A travel health update as a letter to Santa!

For quicker snippets to keep you updated, I write a monthly feature in Practice Nurse journal and many of you know I'm kindly allowed to put it on my website - see here although it's also viewable in the journal and their website here.  

The article for December 2015 was composed within a letter to Santa! This time the item of greatest concern to me was the fact that more and more CCGs seem to be stopping providing PGDs for the NHS vaccines (that's hepatitis A, typhoid, polio and cholera and any combination vaccines that has one of these disease protections within it). Of even greater concern is that not all nurses administering the vaccines in a GP setting are aware they have no current PGD and they need to set up PSDs or prescriptions for the vaccines before administering them until the problem is resolved.  I have been in touch with NHS England to try and understand what is happening and believe the situation is being addressed and will write more when there is further news.

In the meantime, as the article suggests, please check your PGDs in the surgery to ensure they are in date and if not take action!  To see the article directly click on the image below

Thursday, 17 September 2015

2015 UK Malaria Guidelines published today

Guidelines for malaria prevention in travellers from the UK for 2015 have just been published by Public Health England see HERE or on image below.  The document now has page numbers added to help you find your way around more easily!  The key changes include updated guidance on the use of insect repellent and sun protection; updated guidance on the use of hydroxychloroquine, anticoagulants, doxycycline use in epilepsy; new maps for India and South Africa; changes to recommendations for Vietnam and Malaysian Borneo; clarification of advice for people moving through areas requiring different malaria chemoprophylaxis and an appendix with information including membership of the committee, terms of reference and methodology used to make the recommendations.

Interesting in that also today a report published in the journal Nature, states nearly 700 million cases of malaria have been prevented in Africa as a result of concerted efforts to tackle the disease since 2000 and overall the number of infections fell by 50% across the continent. Bed nets were responsible for the vast majority of the decrease.  To see this news item on the BBC see HERE and for the article in Nature see HERE.  

Monday, 31 August 2015


TravelHealthPro is the new website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre or NaTHNaC.  A complete overhaul of the site reveals stunning fresh looking webpages suitable for healthcare professionals and travellers alike.  Beautifully illustrated and making full use of modern technology and social media, it contains many new and exciting features.  On the individual countries, check out the weather widget, the direct access to the Google map and an easy link to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Disease outbreaks and latest news details can be seen via information icons on the 'world overview' section here.   The new yellow fever maps on the relevant country pages (taken from the CDC maps) and even some malaria endemicity maps have been added (with more to come in due course).  See India as an example, here.  Check it out, it may take you a little while to get used to the new format, but I'm sure you'll soon enjoy the exciting and vibrant experience!

The new website address is  or click on the image below

Friday, 31 July 2015

Conference only 7 weeks away now!

The Highs and Lows of Travel is a collaborative travel medicine conference I'm undertaking with the Royal College of Nursing.  This event was planned at the end of 2014 and I can't believe it is now nearly upon us!  Because last year there was such demand, we were fully booked weeks before the event.  Therefore this year we decided to hold the day in the lovely spacious surroundings of the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park, London.  The programme is packed with nine speakers and a variety of topics to update and provide new information.  It is suggested that if practising travel medicine that you undertake an annual update, so this would provide that opportunity if you're hooked by this exciting field of practice.  The day will also provide the chance to meet and mingle with many like minded healthcare professionals in travel health.  Click here or on the image below for more information.  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Malaria figures in UK travellers for 2014

Public Health England have published 'Malaria imported into the United Kingdom: 2014.  Implications for those advising travellers' on their website this morning.  See the news item here

In 2014 there were 1586 cases of imported malaria which is 5.7% higher than in 2013.  The majority of these cases were caused by P. falciparum (1192 which was 79.4%) and there were three deaths.  There was also an increase in P.vivax  and P.ovale malaria cases.  To see the statistics see here  London continues to report the largest proportion of cases in England and the report gives details of this along with overall travel history, ethnic origin, age and sex factors etc.  The top three countries of travel for people returning with malaria were 1.Nigeria, 2 Ghana and 3. Sierra Leone.  Where a history of chemoprophylaxis was known, 82% of those patients had not taken any.  The report provides an interesting and helpful review and will provide more information than that given here so click on the image below to see.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

International Resources webpage

I've created a page on my website to list all the key resources for travel health used within diffferent countries.  As you'll see when you click here or on the image below, I've started the collection but if you are looking from another country then can you help me please?  If you could e mail me through my contact page with you favoured key National resources that would be great and I'll add them to this resource.  

Friday, 22 May 2015

Vaccine Timeline Updated

The very useful historical vaccine development and introduction of vaccines in the UK chart has been updated again.  News of this was posted in the April/May 2015 edition of Vaccine Update see here.  The changes made are as follows

  • DTwP/Hib vaccination was introduced in 1996
  • PCV7 was introduced in 2001 and 2006
  • DT3aP was introduced in 2001
  • Td was introduced in 2001
  • PCV13 was introduced in 2010
To see the chart click on the image below. 

You can also obtain it from the Immunisation Resources page on my wbsite along with many other useful items here

Friday, 10 April 2015

Malaria and Multiple Destination Trips

I presented a workshop at the Faculty of Travel Medicine and British Global Travel Health Association conference on this topic but for the first time delivered the session in an e learning programme format. Managed to put the programme on a platform where you can now access it.  It won't provide a certificate of learning sorry, but you can still record a reflective piece for your CPD! Hope it proves useful on a subject that people find challenging sometimes in travel health.

Click on the image below - the learning takes about 30 minutes.  

Sunday, 29 March 2015

It's OK to be Smart

It’s OK to be Smart is a blog (here) and YouTube show (here).  The presenter, biologist Joe Hanson Ph.D is also the creator/host/writer of PBS Digital Studios’ where weekly science videos are posted.  A recent piece ‘Why vaccines work’ dynamically explains the purpose and value of vaccination in a style that is engaging and captivating.  Others to look out for on the search facility are ‘Ebola explained’ and ‘What’s the deadliest Animal in the World’ which focuses information on malaria.  This modern approach to education is not only fun but somewhat addictive once you start exploring the host of topics covered so consider subscribing to the postings!  Click on the image below to see the video of 'Why Vaccines Work'. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Health of Travellers

This document is a position paper prepared by the Executive Board of the Faculty of Travel Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and has been distributed to all the UK and Republic of Ireland Departments of Health.  The document highlights that the practice of travel medicine is unregulated and therefore could be putting holidaymakers in danger.  Health of Travellers outlines a need to have policy changes, better education and better regulation of doctors and other health professionals giving advice on travel health.  To see the publication click on the image below or here.  To see the press statement see here.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Splenectomy Information

The information leaflet and card for patients who have either no, or a poorly functioning spleen have been republished and redesigned.  The wording on the leaflets states 'People without a functioning spleen are liable to overwhelming infection including pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. After completing the details for yourself, or on behalf of your young child, please carry this card with you at all times so that paramedics and other health professionals are aware of your or your child’s, condition, should either of you be taken ill'. 

The card has space to record the following immunisations - Pneumococcal, Hib/Men C, Men ACWY, Men B, Influenza - as recommended in Chapter 7 of the Green Book.  For details about the leaflet and patient card, see here or click on the image below.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Travel Medicine Conferences

I've just updated the 'conferences' page on my website see here.  There are two coming up shortly from the Faculty of Travel Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The first on 12th March is being held in London jointly with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the second on the 28th March is in Leicester with the BGTHA on the 'Adventurous Traveller'.