Travel Medicine - Tales Behind the Science
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Travel Medicine - Tales Behind the Science

Travel Medicine - Tales Behind the Science is a new book published by Elsevier. Edited by Annelies Wilder-Smith, Eli Schwartz and Marc Shaw, it is an interesting compendium that introduces the reader to the specialty of travel medicine with a collection of historical accounts, medical tales, and opinion pieces from a well-respected group of travel medicine practitioners.

From the publisher: "Travel to exotic places is fascinating, and equally so are infections and other dangers of exotic travel. Moreover, one need not be traveling to suffer these maladies; sometimes they travel to you. The enormous global mobility demands a public health response. The result is the concept of 'travel medicine' as a separate discipline. This book describes the evolution of travel medicine, travel vaccines, malaria prophylaxis and infections of adventure and leisure.

This book is unique and different to the standard textbooks on travel medicine. It provides rare insights into many of the behind-the-scenes in travel medicine, personal stories of failures and successes of travel medicine practitioners, the 'real life' tales that unravel the science behind travel medicine. We believe that the best lessons are learned from personal stories.

Not every travel is fun. Some travel is for a cause, be it religious or humanitarian, or be it to escape certain political systems. We have added stories on the tragedies of so-called 'undocumented refugees,' and stories written by colleagues who were involved in humanitarian care. Pilgrimages attract large number of 'travelers' and yet we know so little about these pilgrimages. Chapters on the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian pilgrimages aim to correct this.

Diseases also travel. The spread of global diseases and pandemics is fascinating. This book provides an overview of the pandemics, in particular that of cholera, yellow fever, severe acute respiratory syndrome and influenza. Globalization, migration and health lead to a history of disease and disparity in the global village - our world. And what about the revised International Health Regulations - what do we need to know about them in the context of travel medicine?

In the next millennium, our world will have inherited further global movement. It may even include travel to aerospace. The 'Epilogue' awakes some of our old dreams - the last frontier, space travel...

Annelies Wilder-Smith has lived in China, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, New Zealand, and Switzerland. She is currently based in Singapore, from where she continues to travel extensively throughout Asia. She is the Head of the Travellers Health and Vaccination Centre, one of the largest travel clinics in Asia. She was in a unique position to do research on W135 meningococcal disease in Hajj pilgrims during the outbreak. She experienced firsthand the SARS epidemic in Singapore.

Eli Schwartz is the Director of the Center for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Eli is a real tropical medicine specialist. He obtained all his experience in the field, including Nepal, Tibet, and numerous adventure travels to Africa, where he prefers to do his studies on the sides of the Omo River.

Marc Shaw is a passionate traveler, doctor, actor and observer of fine humor. His favorite pastime is to be an expedition doctor. This has taken him to exotic places such as Namibia, Mongolia, Pitcairn Islands, and to the Amazon. He is the Director of WORLDWIDE Travellers' Health Centres in New Zealand."

Table of Contents

History of Travel Medicine

History of the Development of Travel Medicine as a New Discipline

Education in Travel Medicine

Education in Travel Medicine; The Gorgas course: Learning Travel Medicine While Traveling; The Ten Commandments for Healthy Tropical Travel

Evolution of Travel Vaccines

Routine Vaccinations and Travel; Recommended Travel Vaccines: From "Travel Vaccines" to Universal Vaccination: The Hepatitis A Story; Required Travel Vaccinations: Yellow Fever - The Disease and the Vaccine; Remote Travel Vaccines: The Undulating Fortunes of Typhoid Vaccines; Dodging the Bullet: Preventing Rabies among International Travelers

Malaria Drugs and Infections of Adventure

Barking Up the Right Trees? Malaria Drugs from Cinchona to Qing Hao; Infections of Adventure and Leisure

Personal Tales: Travel Medicine Practitioners Share Their Stories

Final Log: Amazonas Adventure; Tales from the Mountains; Confessions of a 'Reality TV' Doc; Tomb Raider's Crew Doctor; The Woman Atop the Crocodile: Newton's Law in Africa

Tales Behind the Research in Travel Medicine

The Borneo Eco-Challenge: GeoSentinel and Rapid Global Sharing of Disease Outbreak Information; Understanding Malaria Prophylaxis: Lessons Learnt on the Omo River, Ethiopia; Travelers' Diarrhea: Tales from Mexico; The story of the CIWEC Clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal; History of Cyclospora at the CIWEC Clinic, Nepal; Meningococcal Disease and the Hajj Pilgrimage; Too High Too Fast: Experiences at High Altitude; The Pleasures and Perils of Traveling with Young Children; Mongolian Expedition; Evacuation of Travelers: Personal Anecdotes, Pearls and Conclusions

Traveling for a Cause

Globalization, Migration and Health: The History of Disease and Disparity in the Global Village; Stories of Undocumented Migrants to the USA; Between Crossing Boundaries and Respecting Norms: The Story of Women Labor-Migrants in Israel; Humanitarian Care in Haiti and Rwanda; Muslim Pilgrimage; The Pilgrimages of Christianity; Hindu Pilgrims; Pilgrimages in the High Himalayas

When Diseases Travel

Cholera — A Travel History of the First Modern Pandemic; The Role of Armies in Spreading Epidemics: Vector and Victim; The Spread of Disease in the 20th and Lessons for the 21st Century; A Travel Medicine Practitioner during the SARS Outbreak in Singapore; What Does the Travel Medicine Practitioner Need to Know About the International Health Regulations?


A Look Into the Future- Space Travel

I found the book to be quite variable in the quality of the presentations. Some were quite detailed and demonstrated a great deal of effort, while a few were superficial and seemed to have been hastily composed, without any real attempt to be revealing or comprehensive. For the price ($49.95 U.S.), the amount of entertaining and useful content is reasonable, but not overwhelming. There is not a great deal of structure or organization to this volume. I suspect that the section headings were chosen so that each of the contributions could have a formal placement. The book will appeal most to persons interested in travel medicine. However, one should not be misled by the title, which implies that the stories will necessarily somehow relate directly to a particular scientific theme or concept. As best I can tell, this is a collection of short contributions about topics chosen by the contributing authors. It ranges widely from medical advice to cultural musings, so be prepared to switch gears.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.