Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
The UMassMemorial Travelers Health Service
The UMassMemorial Travelers Health Service is an outpatient clinic dedicated to disease prevention and education for international travelers.
As the world becomes a "global village," travel between the U.S. and developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America is increasing the number of people at risk for a variety of infectious diseases as well as altitude sickness, hypothermia and previously rare medical conditions. To address these needs in advance of travel, the UMassMemorial Medical Center has created the Travelers' Health Service. Here infectious disease specialists and nurse practitioners provide a comprehensive service with individualized counseling on necessary precautions, immunizations, medications, and medical care for travel-related illnesses.
Based in an academic medical center, UMassMemorial travel professionals are armed with the latest on-line information from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about emerging and well-known disease agents worldwide. Malaria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, yellow fever and diarrhea are some of the illnesses which may be prevented with advance immunization, preventive medicine and education. A visit to the UMassMemorial Travelers' Health Service can substantially reduce the risk of contracting diseases such as these. Information regarding medical evacuation insurance, preventive therapy for high altitude related illnesses, and accessing care in remote locations around the world is also provided.
Who Needs to Visit the Travelers' Health Service?
Travelers who journey to a developing country can benefit from preventive medical services, especially those who:
- intend to spend more than a few days
- enter remote areas
- have contact with animals
- provide humanitarian relief or clinical care
UMassMemorial Travel Specialists have specific expertise in advising those who are planning international adoption, pregnant women, adults accompanied by children or infants, people with underlying medical conditions or allergies, and anyone leaving the United States to conduct scientific research. (back to top)
When Do I Need To Plan For Travel Services?
When anticipating an international trip, it is important to plan ahead for preventive medical services. Six to eight weeks before departure is the best time to schedule an initial appointment. An in-depth interview will take place and appropriate vaccinations and medications will be given. Allowing this lead time provides sufficient opportunity for follow-up vaccines, as a course of 2 or 3 appointments is necessary for certain immunizations. Travelers with less lead time usually can be accommodated. (back to top)
What If I Get Sick When Abroad or After I Return?
Pre--travel counseling at the Travelers' Health Service includes a referral service to outpatient health facilities that provide Western-style medicine in many countries in the developing world. In addition, our physicians and nurse practitioners can provide follow-up medical consultation for those who have used our service via phone, fax or e-mail, giving extra security in circumstances of illness or trauma far away from home.
Travelers who are sick upon return will receive state-of-the-art medical care in an academic setting from specialists in Infectious Disease with expertise in Tropical and International Medicine. Patient visits are arranged on either an urgent or routine basis, depending on the problem. (back to top)
What Countries Require Immunizations and Preventive Medications?
A visit to the Travelers' Health Service is strongly recommended when going to most of the countries in the developing world, including:
- South East Asia/Philippines
- the Indian subcontinent
- Central and South America
- Caribbean Islands
Immunizations and prophylactic medicines may also be indicated when traveling to parts of Mexico, Russia, Southern and Eastern Europe, or the Far East. (back to top)