Friday, December 30, 2011

First Influenza Case Reported In Maryland

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Health Officials Report First Influenza Case in Maryland

BALTIMORE, MD – 12/30/2011 – The flu has officially arrived in Maryland. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced today the first laboratory confirmed case of seasonal influenza in Maryland. This season’s first confirmed case comes months later than last season’s. Officials say last season’s first confirmed case was reported on October 14.
Health officials urge the public to be vaccinated. It is not too late to receive this year’s seasonal vaccine.
Influenza is a naturally occurring viral disease that causes respiratory infections. Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden onset of fever
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness.

"Reduce the chance of spreading flu and other viruses by covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve, washing your hands often and staying home if you are sick," says Fran Lessans, President and Founder of Passport Health, the largest private provider of travel medical services and immunizations in the United States. Founded in 1994, the Baltimore native company has expanded to 200 vaccine clinics nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized Passport Health in June of this year for 10 years of excellence in improving influenza immunization uptake and reducing the health impact of influenza.  Passport Health is proud to contribute to increasing immunization rates and provides onsite wellness clinics for major corporations nationwide. Customized wellness solutions not only include flu and pneumonia immunization clinics but also cholesterol and glucose screenings, physicals, drug screenings as well as travel medical services.

"It's never too late to get vaccinated against the flu."

***
Tammy Broghammer
410.727.0556

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Not Too Late To Vaccinate Against Influenza

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We are currently in the midst of National Influenza Week. 
 It's not too late to vaccinate!


It is important to vaccinate against the flu now if you haven't already.  Flu activity doesn’t usually peak until January or February in the United States and can last as late as May.  Please call Passport Health at 1-888-499-PASS to make an appointment in one of our convenient locations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Visit Nepal - Chitwan National Park

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When one thinks of Nepal, trekking the Himalayas is the first thing that comes to mind. However Nepal is an incredibly diverse country that offers so much more. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal is the Royal Chitwan National Park.

Located in the south central region of Nepal, in the Terai. These southern plains are less than 100m above sea level. The best time to visit the park is after monsoon season when temperatures are cooler and vegetation is lush from all the rain; that time is now through about February.


Several lodges inside the Park offering full board and accommodations in combination with different types of tours make it easy for travelers to experience the beauty of the park first hand. When planning a visit to Chitwan, try to give yourself enough time for several safaris, as wildlife is unpredictable and there are many types of safaris you can enjoy.

Jungle walks/Elephant Tours: Leisurely guided tours by foot or atop an elephant give you an optimal way to see animals in their natural habitat. There is a good chance of seeing animals such as, the endangered one-horned Rhino, honey badger, sloth bear and many species of deer on this type of tour because they prefer to live in less disturbed areas. These types of tours are also great ways to explore the villages of the indigenous Tharu people and experience local culture first hand.

Jeep safaris: A jeep drive is the fastest way to visit a wide area of the park and offers a good chance of seeing big game such as Bengal Tigers, Leopards and Gaurs.
Canoe trips: Floating down the many rivers inside Chitwan National Park is the best way to see crocodiles and the rare gangetic dolphins in their natural habitats. It is also a relaxing way to watch birds and wildlife species that frequently come to bathe and drink.

Bird watching tours: Chitwan National Park is known as a paradise for birds and birdwatchers alike because of the vast variety that make the park home. Chitwan Valley records over 450 species of birds. Many of the birds that live here are endangered or near endangered, including the spotted eagle, bengal florican and oriental darter.

 Stay tuned for more highlights of Nepal throughout the month.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let's Go to Nepal

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The Democratic Republic of Nepal is a landlocked state in South Asia that is known for its rich geography and holds 8 of the world's 10 tallest mountains- including Mount Everest, the highest place on earth.

If you are an adventure traveler then Nepal is your destination! Nepal is an extremely diverse country with a wide variety of activities to suit every traveler. Other than the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges, Nepal holds the Mid-Hills of rolling green terraced paddies and lush forests, and the jungles and plains of the hot and dusty Terai. Throughout all this, there are the white waters of Nepal's many rivers that race down from the Himalayas.

A few quick facts about Nepal:

-The Climate: Nepal's climate ranges from the steamy humid jungle to the freezing mountains and everywhere in between. From October to February, woolen sweaters and jackets are necessary. Short or long sleeved shirts are good from March through May. From June to September, light and loose garments are advisable.

-The Currency of Nepal is Nepalese Rupee, denoted by the ISO code NPR. It is abbreviated as Rp.  Check current exchange rates.

-The Language: Nepali is the official language of Nepal; it is derived from Sanskrit and was formerly known as Khaskura.  Useful phrases in Nepali.

Though Nepal is a developing country it is rich in culture and relies on tourism to bring in wealth and awareness of the beauty that Nepal has to offer the world.  Stay tuned for the rest of the month as we highlight some of the fantastic experiences that Nepal has to offer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dangerous Varicella (Chickenpox) Lollipops

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A new and dangerous practice has emerged: parents who fear the chickenpox vaccine can try to infect their kids the “natural” way by sending off for mail-order lollipops licked by kids who have the disease. This is a very deceiving concept for a couple different reasons; getting the chickenpox vaccine is actually much safer than getting the chickenpox disease and the disease is spread through sneezing, coughing and breathing, not oral secretions. There are many other diseases spread through saliva you would not want to subject your children to, influenza, viral meningitis and hepatitis are a few.

Chickenpox is generally mild however severe complications, including, bacterial infection of the skin, swelling of the brain, and pneumonia, can arise in some people. Because chickenpox is a herpes virus, infection is life-long. This means that a person who has had the chickenpox is likely to contract a painful rash called shingles years later. The chickenpox vaccine keeps kids from getting the chickenpox virus. There a lower risk for complications and contracting shingles later in life for people who have been vaccinated for chickenpox as opposed to people who have had the chickenpox disease. Before the vaccine about 100 people died annually as a result of the chickenpox in the United States. Now, with the vaccine, the number of people that die annually from chickenpox is about 20.

Please visit our chickenpox page to learn more about this highly contagious disease.

Call Passport Health 1-888-499-PASS (7277) to schedule an appointment to protect you and your loved ones against chickenpox today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rihanna Hospitalized with The Flu

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Healthy, young and famous are not characteristics that deter the flu virus. Rihanna was hospitalized after contracting the flu earlier this week despite being in her early twenties. Catching the flu has already cost Rihanna time and a lot of money. Rihanna was forced to cancel her show in Malmo Sweden on Monday and another show in Stockholm, Sweden last night (Wednesday). Because of these cancellations this bout of the flu has already cost Rihanna more than $800,000. Rihanna released this statement on Monday:

"I am sorry to everyone who was coming out to my show in Malmo, Sweden. I was so excited to perform for you all. It would have been a great time ... so much better than being sick with the flu, ugh! I'm really disappointed I couldn't be there," Rihanna said.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms even develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. All this can be prevented with a single flu shot.  You can learn more about the flu from Passport Health.

Protect yourself. Call 888-499-7277 to get your flu shot today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boys and Young Men Should Be Vaccinated Against Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

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Passport Health Ready to Assist in Vaccination Efforts Nationwide

BALTIMORE, MD – 10/26/2011—The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new recommendation for the HPV vaccine yesterday.  The ACIP recommends the vaccination for boys ages 11 and 12.  It also recommends vaccination of males ages 13 through 21 who had not already had all three shots. “The HPV vaccine may be given to boys as young as 9,” said Fran Lessans, CEO of Passport Health, the nation’s largest private provider of travel medical services and immunizations in the nation.

“The ACIP recommended this vaccine for girls and young women between the ages of 11 to 26 back in 2006, but vaccination rates in the United States have so far been very disappointing,” she added.  By age 50, up to 80% of women in the U.S. will have contracted HPV.  While most infections will clear out on their own, some will progress to become genital warts and cancer and this is the main concern for health care officials. 
HPV is also linked to other types of cancer beyond cervical cancer. “According to the CDC there have been over 8,500 cases of HPV-positive head and neck cancer cases in 2010, including throat cancer,” commented Lessans. Passport Health’s nationwide offices carry all ACIP-recommended vaccinations for travel and general wellness vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.

By vaccinating young boys against HPV the incidence of HPV-positive cancers is expected to decrease in both men and women.  When discussing routine childhood and adolescent vaccinations, Dr. Alex Lupenko, Corporate Medical Director of Passport Health and infectious disease specialist, underscored the importance of these vaccinations. “This vaccine plays an extremely important role in preventing the transmission of HPV,” he said. “It is as important as any other childhood vaccination like Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Tetanus & Diphtheria and all the other vaccines that young kids receive.”

Here are some U.S. statistics to consider:
·      There are new data suggesting that there is a link between HPV and heart disease in women. 
·      80% of women will have an HPV infection in their lifetime.
·      Only 49% of women have had at least one of the three recommended doses of the HPV vaccine.
·      Less than 30% of them had received the entire 3-shot series. 
·      8,500 HPV-positive head and neck cancer cases in 2010 alone.
·      Hispanic women had the highest incidence rate for cervical cancer. African American women had the second highest rate of getting cervical cancer, followed by Caucasian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander women.
·      Persistent infections with high-risk HPVs are the primary cause of cervical cancer.
o      2010 Cervical Cancer cases: 12,710
o      2010 Cervical Cancer Deaths: 4,290
·      HPV infections also cause some cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, and oropharynx.

“This concerns all of us.  As a developed a nation we do not understand why vaccination rates are so low and why 4,000 women must die of cervical cancer every year,” stated Lessans.  “By vaccinating boys and men against HPV we not only protect them against infection or certain cancers, but we are also protecting unvaccinated women,” she concluded.

Passport Health has HPV vaccinations available in all of its offices nationwide. Please call 1-888-499-PASS(7277) to make an appointment.  Ask your Passport Health representative about our evening and weekend hours.  For more information or to learn more about HPV visit www.passporthealthusa.com



-Jorge Eduardo Castillo
Jorge.Castillo@passporthealthusa.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Legionnaires disease in Ocean City, MD

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Legionnaires' disease has been detected in an Ocean City, MD hotel.  Six cases have been confirmed so far and one death has occurred.  You can read more about this outbreak in the article below.
http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20111013/NEWS01/110130303/Legionnaires-disease-kills-1

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia. Most people get Legionnaires' disease from inhaling small droplets of water in the air that have been contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. The most likely sources are whirlpool spas, complex air-conditioning systems (usually in large buildings), and water used for drinking and bathing.  Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease usually begin 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure to the bacteria.  The most common symptoms of the disease include, a high fever, chills, and a cough.  If you think you may have been exposed to Legionella bacteria talk to your doctor or health department. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are at high risk for contracting Legionnaires' disease.  If left untreated Legionnaires' disease can be fatal.
Things you can do to protect yourself from complications of Legionnaires’ disease are to live a healthy lifestyle, and vaccinate against pneumonia and influenza.  These vaccines are always available at all Passport Health locations.  
Please visit http://www.passporthealthusa.com/locations to find a location near you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get your 2011-2012 flu shot

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Thanks to cnn.com for this video. Flu shots are available at all Passport Health Locations nationwide. Please call 888-499-7277 or visit www.passporthealthusa.com/locations to find a convenient location to get your flu shot today!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New member of the family? You may need a new vaccine

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Thanks to cnn.com for this article. Hepatitis A and all other vaccinations are available at Passport Health. Call today: 888-499-7277

(CNN.com) There is nothing quite as momentous as bringing a new baby home.  There are smiles, kisses and sometimes tears, especially for families who have waited a long time for the moment to arrive.  For parents who adopt children from abroad, arriving home is often extra special.  The investment of time,  money and travel has resulted in a homecoming for a special little person who is finally sleeping safely in Mom and Dad's arms.

In the past, experts have told parents who travel internationally to adopt children to get vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus.  Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is supporting a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  recommendation that other people who may have close contact with the children in the months after they arrive in the United States also get vaccinated.



According to the U.S. State Department, more than 11,000 children were adopted from other countries in 2010.  Most of these children came from China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.  Almost 100%  of children adopted abroad between 1998 and 2008 came from countries with high rates of the hepatitis A virus according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  85 percent of those infections were in children under 5.

Why the concern?  Hepatitis A is highly contagious.  The symptoms include abdominal pain near the liver, dark urine and jaundice .  But often people with it don't have symptoms, so it's hard to tell they are carrying the virus.   As a result, it can easily spread it to others.  In more serious cases, hepatitis A can cause an acute liver infection and in extreme cases, liver failure.

The recommendations come after a report in 2007 of a grandmother of a child from Ethiopia coming down with hepatitis A.  A subsequent investigation found 20 additional cases of acute hepatitis A in people who had not traveled abroad but had close personal contact with children who had recently been adopted outside the United States.

So how do you know if you should get vaccinated?  The AAP says you should get the vaccine if you anticipate having close contact with international adoptees during the two months after their arrival.  It also recommends getting the first shot more than two weeks before the adopted child arrives and getting the second dose at least six months after the first one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Polio Outbreak in China

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Beijing (CNN) -- An outbreak of polio has been confirmed in China for the first time since 1999, leaving one person dead and hospitalizing another nine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease, a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death, broke out in the prefectures of Hotan and Bazhou in the country's western Xinjiang province.

Among the ten cases confirmed, six are in children under three years old and four are young adults.  See the rest of the story .

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a viral disease which is transmitted by fecal-oral or oral-oral contact. It invades the nervous system and often leads to permanent paralysis. It can be prevented by immunization.

Most people, Americans especially, think of Polio as a disease that was eradicated decades ago, but that is not the case.  Though the number of reported cases have been greatly reduced, we have not achieved global eradication...yet.

In 1988, the World Health Organization, together with Rotary International, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention passed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with the goal of eradicating polio by the year 2000.  The initiative continues today.

Polio vaccination remains a part of routine immunizations for children in the US, but a one-time Polio booster for adults is often recommended for those who will be traveling to endemic areas such as Africa, India, Indonesia and the Arabian Peninsula, or if their last Polio immunization was over 10 years ago.

Contact Passport Health if you are interested in obtaining the Polio vaccination.  Our 200 nationwide locations are equipped with knowledgeable Travel Medicine Specialists to counsel you on the best ways to stay safe and healthy while you travel here and abroad.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Death In Barbados due to Dengue Fever

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An adult male has been confirmed as the first recorded death as a result of Dengue Fever in Barbados. This was confirmed today by the Ministry of Health.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John expressed sympathy to the family of the deceased and is urging Barbadians who are experiencing symptoms of Dengue Fever, including sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain; or symptoms of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever such as bleeding from nose, mouth and gums, frequent vomiting or difficulty breathing, to seek immediate medical attention.

Barbadians are also reminded to check their premises for possible mosquito breeding places and to cover water containers such as buckets, small plastic containers and drums or to dispose of these in a proper manner, in order to reduce mosquito breeding.
See full story here.

There is no vaccine available for Dengue Fever so the use of  bug repellent and other protective measures is necessary.  If you have further questions about Dengue Fever or would like to learn more about protective measures against mosquitoes you can contact a Travel Medicine Specialist at Passport Health.

Travel Safely!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Importance of Getting Vaccines: Case of the Super Mosquito

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The case of the super mosquito comes from the small country of Guyana.  After living in South America for a year I couldn't miss the opportunity of visiting the often overlooked countries of The Guiana's.  I honestly didn't know what to expect or exactly what to see until I got to the country.  One of the most unique things they have to offer besides unspoiled wildlife in the Amazon Jungle was the Kaieteur Falls. 
In what seems like a completely remote location where no guard rails exist, the Kaieteur Falls are very reminiscent of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.  The color of the flow of water at Kaieteur is exactly like the like the water at the Devil's Throat at Iguazu.  Before visiting they told us about the encounters we would have with wildlife as well as the mosquitoes.
On the same tour we had the privilege of visiting the Orinduik Falls where we would find the friendly mosquito on steroids called the Kaboura Fly.  Not only does this insect look like a mosquito that has been working out at a gym for most of its life, it also leaves a nasty welt that is roughly two or three times bigger than the small bump a mosquito leaves.
I was given exclusive footage of a welt that was earned weeks before we arrived to our gracious host at the hotel that I was staying at, the El Dorado Inn.  The Kaboura fly also has a great habit of laying eggs inside of your skin which I'm sure we all want to experience!  Since I was updated before my trip to the Kaieteur Falls I made sure to put on plenty of bug spray all over my skin before we arrived. 
Luckily, we landed at a time when it was sunny and there weren't too many flies out at the falls.  Speaking to the many mosquitoes that have bitten by uncle over the years they advised me that he has some of the sweetest blood on the planet.  That's one of the reasons that I love traveling with my uncle, mosquitoes tend to prefer his skin to mine.
Since his blood is so sweet the Kaboura flies decided to bite my uncle through his t-shirt.  Not once or twice, he was bitten three separate times by the Kaboura flies.  If you ever thought there was a time that you needed to have your vaccines imagine being bitten by this random fly that happens to leave eggs inside of your skin.  My uncle didn't feel well at all that night and he happened to get all of his vaccines just before we arrived in Guyana.
After some research on the internet and speaking to locals we found out that the Kaboura flies don't carry any diseases.  So in this case a vaccination or medication wouldn't help, but just imagine if they did carry disease and you didn't have your vaccines/meds to prevent that disease?  It's very important to take care of your health while you are traveling and learning how to protect yourself when medicine or vaccines can't is a must.  Don't forget your bug repellent- the Kaboura flies will find you.  Just ask my uncle!
About the Author:
Marcello Arrambide is a day trader and travel blogger that is currently traveling around the world.  He spent over 3 weeks exploring The Guianas while traveling to every country in South America.  You can find out more about Marcello by visiting his travel blog: WanderingTrader.com.  He is currently living in Nairobi, Kenya exploring all of Eastern Africa.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Smelly Socks Could Help Curb Malaria

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Finding that disease-bearing mosquitoes are drawn to foot odor, researchers in Africa, which accounts for 90% of malaria deaths worldwide, are planning to use the smell from sweaty socks in traps.




By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

August 14, 2011 – Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa— As a boy in remote western Kenya, Fredros Okumu sat under the stars, smothered by the smoke of the family fire, until it was time to go to bed.

Even now, when he returns home to his village, a 29-year-old man who left and achieved things, he still sits in the darkness, eyes stinging, nose running, enveloped in the choking smoke. Its smell clings to his hair and clothing, but at least it serves its purpose: keeping the mosquitoes at bay.

Like almost everyone in the village of Uyoma, Okumu lost family and friends to mosquito-borne malaria when he was growing up. So the smoke of burning Kenyan bush herbs was his friend.

"One of the things growing up, I caught malaria at least twice a year. I lost cousins, around five of them. And if you speak to any African boy who is 29 years old and grew up in an African village, he would either have a similar situation, or worse," he said in a phone interview from Tanzania, where he works as an entomologist for the Ifakara Health Institute, a medical and public health research institute.

Mosquitoes responsible for spreading malaria, such as the female Anopheles varieties, are particularly attracted to feet.

In a splendid example of African inventiveness, Okumu is developing a toxic mosquito trap for African villages that attracts the insects using a human scent that mosquitoes apparently cannot resist: smelly socks.

After his mentor, a Dutch medical entomologist, discovered the insects' strange affinity to foot odor by standing naked in a room full of mosquitoes to see where they bit him, Okumu was driven to find a cheap, practical way to use the knowledge. His plan would enlist the services of villagers who would wear cotton pads in their socks, to be used as bait in mosquito traps, a cheaper option for villages than using chemically synthesized foot odor.

The project, which has received $775,000 in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada, is designed to eradicate mosquitoes outdoors, to complement the big strides made in cutting malaria deaths using treated bed nets, malarial drugs and spraying.

"We believe African innovators are best placed to solve African problems," said Peter Singer of Grand Challenges Canada, which seeks out African inventors with out-of-the box ideas. "I think there's a lot of value at the table in terms of tapping bright young African innovators who have great ideas and who could be more fully enabled to tackle their own challenges."

Some African countries have seen dramatic reductions in malaria rates by employing a raft of control techniques. Malaria deaths were cut by about 50% in nine African countries between 2006 and 2008, according to the World Health Organization, including Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana. But there were still 243 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2008 and 863,000 deaths, mostly among children — with Africa accounting for 90% of malaria deaths.

Although the poor are the most vulnerable, no one is spared. One of Okumu's colleagues at the Ifakara institute recently lost a child to malaria.

Okumu was drawn into mosquito research almost by accident, when he volunteered to be a subject in a mosquito project after leaving his village to go to high school.

After high school he got a job with a mosquito research team run by Bart G.J. Knols, a Dutchman who was looking at the efficacy of traditional Kenyan mosquito repellents.

After six months on the job, Okumu became obsessed. When other members of the team were resting in the evenings or writing up research reports, he was creeping around the compound, spraying the mosquitoes, determined to get rid of the pests.

"I figured out that I could do something practical. I'd go around the compound spraying mosquito breeding sites, just to kill mosquitoes. This was not a scientific part of the project. It was my original scientific passion developing into a need to do something practical. Since that time, I have always wanted to work on mosquitoes."

It was Knols who discovered that mosquitoes were most attracted to smelly feet. But Okumu decided to apply the discovery to an outdoor mosquito trap.

Okumu's plan to use actual smelly socks odor offers a cheap alternative to a chemical smell and can be easily replaced by villagers. He plans to focus on youths playing soccer, or laborers, as a source for the sock pads.

"We hope this will reduce the cost but also create a level of interest in the community," he said.

The mosquito trap is a wooden box with louver vents and a battery-run fan to blow the sock odor into the air through a bamboo pipe. The next phase of his research is to figure out the best places in the village to post mosquito traps, develop a trap that will cost only a few dollars, and to determine how an outdoor mosquito-control routine involving smelly socks can be a regular part of village life.

Having grown up in a village, he knows what might work, and what won't.

"I still visit my village a lot and I see how things are being done," he said. "I still sit around my mother's fire and my nose still runs the way it did 20 years ago and my eyes still sting. Life is not very different."

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Passport Health, the largest doctor recommended provider of travel medical services and vaccines, not only administers and prescribes immunizations and medications, but also counsels international travelers on water and food precautions as well as safety measures for non-vaccine preventable diseases such as malaria and cholera.

Make an appointment today to speak with a Travel Medicine Specialist at Passport Health.


Call 1.888.499.PASS (7277)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

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While immunization awareness is important all throughout the year, August is typically designated as National Immunization Awareness Month.  This is the time of year when parents prepare for their children’s return to school, students are heading off to college, and healthcare workers turn their attention to the upcoming flu season.  Therefore, it’s a critical time to ensure we are up-to-date with our recommended immunizations.

It is important to have everyone vaccinated, especially children and older adults, in order to ensure healthy lives. 

Here are some recommendations and tips on the importance of immunization that will Make A Difference (M.A.D.):

1. The purpose of Immunization Awareness Month in August is to promote the benefits of immunization; check with your family, both young and old, to make sure everyone is immunized.

2. Create a chart to track the immunizations of all family members including children, parents and grandparents; check it annually.

3. Organize a health fair in your community for screenings, immunizations and bone marrow donor tests!

4. Check out the CDC website or contact your local Passport Health for tips and recommendations.

Thanks to the Immunization Action Coalition and The Huffington Post for info for this article

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CDC urges pregnant women to get whooping cough vaccine

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CDC- Pregnant women should be vaccinated against the whooping cough, an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. It recommended that the vaccination be given in the late second or third trimester.

The endorsement was a change from the panel's previous recommendation to wait until immediately after women give birth.

In addition, the panel also recommended that teens and adults in close contact with newborns receive a single dose of the vaccine if they had not received it previously, in order to form a "cocoon" of immunity to protect newborns until they're old enough to be fully vaccinated themselves.

The panel also voted to recommend that a vaccine against meningitis, which is a life-threatening bacterial infection, be given to high-risk infants when they are only 9 months old.


The advantage to vaccinating pregnant women against whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, is that they may pass the antibodies against the disease to the fetus so that it has some protection upon birth, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. In addition, the woman would be protected for a longer period, Schaffner said.

Whooping cough Infants younger than 6 months are most at risk of dying from pertussis and receive vaccinations at the ages of 2, 4 and 6 months through the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DtaP) series of shots. But some infants develop the condition before their shots.


Doctors want to "cocoon" infants by vaccinating the adults around them who might transmit the disease, Dr. Edgar Marcuse, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in an interview yesterday.


The recommendations won't help unless adults actually get their vaccinations, said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In an outbreak last year of 10,000 cases in California, resulting in 10 infant deaths, only 6 percent of adults living with children were vaccinated, Offit said.

After reviewing evidence, the panel concluded the vaccine was safe to give during the later months of pregnancy. However, there was some concern that vaccinating mothers could interfere with how newborn babies respond to the vaccinations.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that causes severe coughing, according to the National Network for Immunization Information. The coughing makes it difficult to breathe, and a "whooping" sound is sometimes heard when the child tries to breathe.

Passport Health carries the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccine nation-wide.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weather Changes May Predict Cholera Outbreaks

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The good news and the bad news of epidemic predictions
By Joel N. Shurkin, ISNS Contributor



(ISNS)—Scientists working with data from the cholera-plagued Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar have found that even a slight variation in temperature or rainfall could herald an epidemic.
That’s both good news and bad news.
The good news is that by monitoring the weather and changes in the climate, epidemiologists may be able to predict the arrival of a disease epidemic up to four months in advance, early enough to make maximum use of vaccines.

The bad news is that with global warming, it is likely cholera epidemics will increase in frequency, and with the climate and rain patterns changing, epidemics could be even more frequent. It’s happening already—recent epidemics in Haiti and Cameroon indicate a resurgent disease.

Cholera is a particularly ghastly disorder caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria and is transmitted through drinking water contaminated by human feces. Its main symptom is violent, severe diarrhea, followed by dehydration. In some recorded epidemics, the death rate for infected individuals can be as high as 50 percent. For some patients, the time between feeling healthy and death can be as little as 24 hours.
Cholera originated in the Indian subcontinent and is a disease usually found in developing areas of the world. It arrived in Europe in the early 19th century, reaching pandemic proportions several times.

The relationship between weather, seasons and cholera is long-established. Sea surface height, sea surface temperature and the concentration of chlorophyll in the ocean have already been shown to be predictive in earlier studies in India and Bangladesh.

Researchers from the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, went back to disease and environmental records in Zanzibar between 2003-08. Reporting in the June issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene they studied rainfall totals in Zanzibar, high and low temperatures, humidity, and sea surface temperatures. Similar techniques have been successfully used to plot malaria and dengue fever.

They found that a one degree Celsius increase in the average monthly minimum temperature was a sign that the number of cholera cases would double within four months. Further, a 7.8 inch increase in monthly rainfall totals was predictive of a substantial increase in cases within two months.

Giving vaccines to a population that may already have been infected is less effective than vaccinating them before infection, so being able to get ready for an outbreak would save lives.

An epidemic now underway in Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, has been blamed on unusual heavy rains coming well before their normal time. The researchers think that is a good example of environmentally driven disease.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti also triggered cholera. More than 300,000 people have been sickened and 5,000 died. The rainy season is about to start, and the researchers fear an explosion of the disease.

While the study from Zanzibar is useful it would be more useful if it could be extrapolated to other areas, and so far it cannot, said David Sack, professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Sack studies cholera in Bangladesh. He said that the disease comes in March in the south of that country, October and November in the north, and year round in Dacca, the capital city—all this in a country the size of Florida.

So what is true in Zanzibar may not be true in Nigeria. But the seasonality of the disease is well-established and more extreme summers may cause more grief.

"Climatologists predict a 1.4-5.8 C (2.5-10.435-42 F) degree rise in mean temperature over the next 100 years," the vaccine researchers wrote. "Increased sea temperatures and levels associated with global warming intuitively suggest the possibility of increased cholera incidence in many resource-poor regions of the world."
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Passport Health, the largest doctor recommended provider of travel medical services and vaccines, not only administers and prescribes immunizations and medications, but also counsels international travelers on water and food precautions for non-vaccine preventable diseases such as cholera.
Make an appointment today to speak with a Travel Medicine Specialist at Passport Health.

Call 1.888.499.PASS (7277)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Know your limits while traveling

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We are so excited to have Marcello Arrambide as our guest blogger today.  He is not only a fantastic travel blogger, but a very gifted photographer.  (Be sure to check out his bio at the end!)  Please enjoy his accounts of knowing (and testing) his limits in South America.  We look forward to more posts from you Marcello!

Know Your Limits While Traveling

by: Marcello Arrambide

When you are traveling around the world there are many things that you need to consider.  Its not just about vaccinations and trying to save money everywhere you go.  When you travel you have to know your limits in every respect.  I tested my limits on my trip to Paraguay.  The capital city of Asuncion is commonly known as one of the cheapest capitals in the world.  I tested my limits at the $3 dollar all you can eat pork dish at a local eatery and at the Brazilian Favela (ghetto) that I found shortly after.  I personally like the unknown and my first thought was to walk right into the favela.

I pondered it for a minute whether it would be very dangerous but I figured it wouldn't be as bad as the places I have been in the United States or even in other countries in South America.  (When I was seeing some of the Argentina tourist attractions in Buenos Aires I accidentally drove into the part of the city where tourist reportedly get kidnapped!  When I went to Carnival this year in Brazil, I walked through one of the worst part of the cities as well--- at dark!)  I figured walking into the front of a ghetto with kids running around shouldn't be a problem.
 aerial view of the Brazilian favela in Paraguay

One of the unique things about Paraguay is that the poorest part of the city rests a few feet away from the Presidential palace.  The history museum (that you shouldn't visit) is right on the cliff where favela can be seen.  In the opposite direction you can view a small neighborhood where they live out of boats that sit on stilts on the beach.  Seeing the favela and how the other side lives in Paraguay is almost unmistakable.

After I decided to enter, a man was walking out and approached me.  He advised that I really REALLY did not want to enter the favela since its one of the most dangerous parts of the city.  I later asked a few Paraguayan friends about that area and they told me that the police don't even enter that zone because its  so dangerous.  Sometimes we want to be adventurous and experience new things but we also have to know our limits.  Accidents will happen but when something doesn't feel right you should move on and forget about it, there will always be another adventure around the corner.



Bio:
Marcello Arrambide is a long term traveler that has been living overseas much of his life.  He shares his travel tips, experiences, and travel advice on his travel blog: WanderingTrader.com.  He currently is living in Colombia finishing his tour of South America and will be heading to Kenya in August.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dengue Fever is Resurfacing in Peru

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In Heart Of Amazon, A Natural Lab To Study Diseases

by Dan Charles - NPR




It's summer and mosquitoes are back. We mostly consider these insects merely annoying, but they also can transmit disease, such as West Nile virus. In fact, in parts of Latin America and Asia — and even, to a lesser extent, in the U.S. — mosquito-borne diseases are growing more common.


The city of Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, has become a giant, open-air laboratory to study the spread of one such disease: dengue fever. Scientists are also using this city-size experiment to find out what works best to stop it. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Navy's Medical Research Unit 6.

Every morning, a dozen young men go door to door down sun-baked streets in Iquitos that are sometimes paved, sometimes just dirt, carrying out a mosquito census. Two by two, they knock on doors. The people who answer the knock don't seem surprised, and almost all of them invite the mosquito hunters inside.

Inside, walls of rough wooden planks divide the space into rooms; clothing is piled on tables. "This is a really good example of ideal resting sites [for mosquitoes]," says Amy Morrison, who leads the medical research unit here in Iquitos. She's also field director for the Mosquito Research Laboratory of the University of California, Davis.

One mosquito hunter pokes around in dark corners with a miniature vacuum cleaner that traps insects in a wire mesh cage. His partner counts water containers in the backyard where mosquitoes could lay their eggs.

And in one corner, the mosquito hunters find their quarry: tiny specks in a bucket of water. To the untrained eye, they just look like bits of dirt. But they're actually mosquito larvae. "I'd probably miss it, too," Morrison admits.

This bucket was in the bathroom, placed to catch water from a roof leak. "That's a very common practice here," says Morrison. But it's also a perfect spot for one particular species of mosquito — Aedes aegypti — to lay its eggs. This is also the primary species of mosquito that spreads dengue fever.

"What's fascinating to me about aegypti is it's probably the mosquito that's most closely associated with human beings, and the most adapted to human beings," says Morrison. It's a kind of unwelcome house pet. No other mosquito species is quite so comfortable laying its eggs inside people's homes. It thrives in tropical cities. And more than most mosquitoes, the female of this species has a particular taste for blood.


A Front-Row Seat To The 'Re-Invasion' Of Dengue


Curiously, this mosquito was not always found in Peru. Half a century ago, public health officials unleashed chemical insecticides on Aedes aegypti and actually wiped it out in large parts of Latin America. By the late 1970s, it was gone from all of Peru. As a result, dengue fever disappeared, too.

But it survived elsewhere — in nearby Venezuela, for instance. Scientists now say the species could not, realistically, be eradicated. Ten years later, inevitably, it found its way back to Peru and other parts of Latin America. The first city in Peru where it resurfaced was Iquitos.

The dengue virus soon followed. Since the U.S. Navy already had a research laboratory in Iquitos, researchers there had a front row seat to watch the "re-invasion" of dengue. It's become one of the world's main centers for studying the virus and the mosquito that spreads it.

Along with the mosquito census, teams of nurses monitor people who live in selected neighborhoods. They go door to door to see who is running a fever. Hundreds of people give blood samples every six months. All this information gets recorded in a computerized map of the city. It's a snapshot — actually, more like a movie — of the virus's migration through the city.

Morrison and her co-workers are hoping it will help them understand the spread of mosquito-borne disease anywhere, including in the U.S.

Roger Nasci, who's in charge of research on mosquito-borne diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says such diseases certainly can erupt in this country.

"Not only could it happen here; it has happened here," he says. "We had yellow fever epidemics in the United States as recently as 100 years ago; we had dengue epidemics as recently as 50 or 60 years ago."


Controlling The Mosquito

Those epidemics have almost been forgotten. They largely ended when people erected effective barriers between themselves and the insects, such as window screens and air conditioning. But West Nile virus was a reminder that mosquito-borne diseases still can be a threat. In just a few years, West Nile spread from New York to California. Persistent cases of dengue now are found in a few areas of the U.S. as well.


More Mosquitoes

Nasci says others could follow. For instance, there's Chikungunya virus, which has spread from East Africa to South Asia. Recently, a traveler from India brought it to Italy, and mosquitoes there picked it up and started spreading it.

"We have infected travelers coming to the U.S. with both dengue and Chikungunya virus that could hypothetically and very easily set up a similar kind of transmission cycle," Nasci says.

The experience in Iquitos shows how difficult it is to shut down such a transmission cycle once it is well-established. Spraying campaigns that the city carries out do have an impact, but they don't prevent dengue entirely. Morrison admits that the mosquito is a really tough adversary.

"I always say, we keep discovering things that turn out to be sort of bad news to the overall goal, which is to find more clever, interesting ways to combat the mosquito, or control the mosquito," she says.

But even though the mosquito probably can't be wiped out in Latin America, Morrison is convinced that it can be controlled well enough to prevent really big outbreaks — such as one that swept through Iquitos earlier this year.

During that outbreak, almost 1,000 feverish patients filled the regional hospital. Dr. Stalin Vilcaromero says temporary cots lined the hospital's stairwells and hallways. And these patients didn't have ordinary dengue, which usually means a week or so of misery but little more — they had the really dangerous form of the disease: dengue hemorrhagic fever.

This is much more common when a person gets reinfected a second time with another strain of the virus. At least two dozen people died; many more might have, if they had not come to the hospital.

On this evening, only two dengue patients remain in the hospital. One of them, Javier Almindo Garcia, still cannot walk. In his case, the dengue infection set off another illness, a neurological condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Almindo Garcia says he doesn't know where he might have encountered the mosquito that infected him with the virus. "I have no idea. It just suddenly hit me," he says.

Full Article from NPR

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Want to Cut Down your Future Health Care Cost? Act Now and Get Vaccinated!

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Vaccines are a cost-effective way to reduce health risks, but they are often overlooked by adults.


Many family practitioners do not check their adult patients’ immunization history on a routine basis. Hence, most patients are not urged to stay on top of their routine immunizations.

Unlike vaccines for infants and children, most adult vaccines generally aren't stocked by primary care doctors, with the exceptions of influenza and pneumonia shots, which usually are covered under preventive care. For other vaccinations, patients often must pay out of pocket until they meet a health plan's deductible, or pay upfront and seek reimbursement.

Medical experts recommend an annual flu shot and a TdaP (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) booster every 10 years for everyone over 18. Many people know that, but still don't get those shots.

There are eight other vaccines recommended for many adults, depending on age, sex, current health and whether they had or were vaccinated against certain diseases as a child. Here's a chance to get up to speed. Passport Health, the leader of travel medical services and immunizations in the U.S. carries all vaccinations from the flu shot to more exotic vaccines such as yellow fever.

Here's what's recommended by the federal government, listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

RECOMMENDED FOR MOST PEOPLE:

Influenza, Can trigger dangerous pneumonia. One dose a year now recommended for all adults. Besides injections, a nasal spray vaccine (Flu Mist) is available for healthy adults, except pregnant women.

Tetanus/diphtheria/whooping cough (pertussis). Generally, one dose every 10 years; when vaccine status is unknown, as soon as possible for women who have just given birth and anyone caring for patients or infants.

RECOMMENDED FOR CERTAIN AGES/CONDITIONS/SITUATIONS:

Chicken pox (varicella), Two doses from age 19 up, or a booster shot if you've had one shot. Generally not needed if you were infected with chickenpox as a child.

Hepatitis A, Liver infection caused by contact with contaminated food, water, stool or blood. Two doses from age 19 up, mainly for: injection-drug users, men who have sex with men, patients with chronic liver disease or taking clotting-factor medicines, those traveling to or working in countries where hepatitis A is common.

Hepatitis B, Liver infection spread mainly by sex with an infected person and sharing of contaminated implements (drug, tattoo or acupuncture needles; toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers). Three doses from age 19 up.

Hepatitis A and B combination

Human papilloma virus. Spread by sexual contact, it can cause vaginal, anal and mouth cancers and genital warts. Three shots needed over six months. Best before initial sexual activity. Gardasil is approved for females and males aged 9-26.

Measles/mumps/rubella (German measles). One or two shots from 19 through 49, then a booster, for anyone born after 1956, unless they have lab tests showing immunity from prior infection or vaccination. Second dose is needed after four weeks if exposed to a measles or mumps outbreak. Rubella protection is particularly needed before pregnancy.

Meningococcal disease. Causes bacterial meningitis and bloodstream infections, which are uncommon but can Kill or disable quickly. Two-dose series recommended mainly for new college students, military recruits, people without a healthy spleen.

Pneumococcal disease. Causes painful ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, bacterial meningitis and blood stream infections. One dose from age 65 up if immunity isn't certain, or one or two doses from age 19 through 64, then a booster dose. Mainly for smokers, nursing home residents, people with lung or heart disease, diabetes, HIV and other immune conditions, liver diseases, alcoholism, or damaged or removed spleen.

Shingles (herpes zoster). One dose from age 60 up to prevent shingles, a painful, blistering skin rash caused by the chicken pox virus.

It's difficult to quantify how much money one might save by getting vaccines but some of these infections can bring very high medical expenses and leave people too sick to work.

For example, treatment for a yearlong outbreak of shingles pain easily exceeds $5,000, and serious complications requiring hospitalization can add another $20,000. Removal of precancerous lesions that might be prevented by the HPV shot can run well over $700, and treatment would cost far more if cancer developed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently called new vaccines one of the top public health achievements of the last decade. It cited record lows in the number of reported cases of hepatitis A, hepatitis B and chicken pox, along with the introduction of multiple-strain pneumococcal vaccines.

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CDC schedule with detailed recommendations for who should get vaccines

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Should Smallpox be Destroyed for Good?

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"Smallpox has been the worst disease known to mankind," says Dr. D.A. Henderson, who was in charge of the WHO's global smallpox eradication program and saw firsthand what this virus could do.   Responsible for .5 million deaths in the 20 century alone, the world has not seen a case of it for the past 30 years and yet it still exists in 2 places.  In a lab in Russia and in the United States at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Many argue the case that it should be destroyed.  What is the use in keeping something around that can cause so much destruction?  Others, namely the CDC believe that it should be kept safe for the time being, just in case there are other unknown sources of the deadly disease.

What do you think?


Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011 is World Malaria Day

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Ten years ago today, 44 African leaders formed a committee devoted to decreasing human deaths caused by Malaria.  This commitment is celebrated annually on April 25th and is marked as the day to commemorate global efforts to fight Malaria. Malaria is a serious illness that puts 3.3 billion people in 106 countries at risk of the disease.  Currently Africa is the continent most at risk and many of the 1 million deaths are African children. “Passport Health wants to honor this day and show its support by offering to protect and educate people about the disease” notes Fran Lessans, Passport Health’s Founder and CEO.

The theme of the 2011 World Malaria Day campaign is "Achieving Progress and Impact" to celebrate the successful results of these past efforts but also highlight the significant challenges that still remain and emphasize how much more must be done to reach near zero deaths by 2015. There is no vaccination for Malaria and no drug is 100% effective at preventing Malaria. Preventive measures such as the use of bed nets and repellents in conjunction with the properly subscribed medication are important and can dramatically decrease the risk to travelers.  Passport Health, specializes in helping Business Travelers, Leisure Travelers, and Mission Travelers become informed and protected.

For more information or to schedule your consultation appointment with a travel specialist, Contact Passport Health or call 1-888-499-PASS (7277)




Friday, April 22, 2011

World Meningitis Day

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BALTIMORE- This Sunday, April 24th, is “World Meningitis Day”. The goal is to create awareness about the preventive medicines available and gain support for those dealing with Meningitis. The Confederation of Meningitis Organization (CoMo) encourages people to “join hands” in their virtual community or become a member of CoMo at http://www.comoonline.org/. This global community has expanded drastically over the past two years; starting in North and South America reaching into the Indian Subcontinent, Asia and Australia to “joining hands” across state lines, country borders and continents.

“No one should ever have to see their children, siblings, friends or classmates suffer or die from a disease that is vaccine-preventable,” says Bruce Langoulant, President and Member of the Governing Council of CoMO, and father of a Meningitis survivor. Once infected with the disease, most damage is irreversible, resulting in deafness, epilepsy, brain damage, and even loss of limbs. “We recognize the dangers of Meningitis and the importance of being vaccinated against the disease,” notes Fran Lessans, Founder and CEO of Passport Health, the largest provider of travel medical services and immunizations in the U.S. “Meningitis affects people all over the world. Travelers need to be protected whether they are traveling for leisure, business or going on a mission trip. Our Travel Medicine Specialists will ensure you are properly prepared for your trip no matter where you are going,” adds Lessans.

Meningitis is a potentially deadly inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, which can be the result of infection by bacteria, viruses and fungi. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe type. It can strike quickly, is often difficult to diagnose, and can lead to death in a matter of hours.

To protect yourself, your family and community, get vaccinated and educated. For more information, visit http://www.passporthealthusa.com/ or call 1-888-499-PASS (7277) to find the nearest Passport Health location.

Friday, April 8, 2011

CDC urges measles vaccine for children traveling abroad

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans traveling or living abroad with their children to be sure the kids are vaccinated against measles, even those as young as 6 months.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. But cases are still turning up among Americans — especially unvaccinated children — returning from overseas travel.
The CDC said Thursday that 29 Americans came down with measles in the U.S. in January and February, seven of them young children. All had traveled abroad. Four children had to be hospitalized.

The disease is highly contagious. The virus is spread by coughing or sneezing, and remains viable in the air for up to two hours.


An estimated 30 million to 40 million cases still occur worldwide each year, with more than 730,000 deaths. It is the fifth most common cause of death worldwide among children younger than 5 years, said Dr. Lucy E. Wilson, a medical epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Measles typically produces high fever, runny nose, cough, and red and watery eyes, followed by a body rash. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia or encephalitis. One or two cases in a thousand are fatal, Wilson said.

"It can be contagious for four days before the rash appears," she said. Travelers can be exposed without realizing it. "And it is highly contagious. There are many cases in the literature of patients contracting the illness in an airport terminal or a hotel."

It's important for parents who are traveling outside the country and who have children either below the age of vaccination [1 year] or who have not completed their vaccinations to discuss with their pediatrician whether the child is eligible to complete the vaccinations or to get vaccinated at an earlier age," Wilson said.

April 07, 2011|By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun

Friday, March 25, 2011

FDA Okays Shingles Vaccine for Younger Age Group

1 comments
By Cole Petrochko, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: March 24, 2011


WASHINGTON -- The FDA has approved use of the varicella zoster vaccine Zostavax in patients ages 50 to 59 for prevention of shingles.

The vaccine was approved in 2006 for prevention of shingles in patients 60 and older.

Approval for the new indication was based on a 22,000-patient multicenter study in the U.S. and four other countries. Patients ages 50 to 59 were randomized equally to the vaccine or placebo and were followed for a year.

Shingles risk was 70% lower in the treatment group than in the placebo group.

Adverse events in the study included injection site redness, pain, and swelling, as well as headache.

Shingles affects some 200,000 healthy patients in the newly approved younger age group each year in the U.S., an FDA statement said.

"The likelihood of shingles increases with age. The availability of Zostavax to a younger age group provides an additional opportunity to prevent this often painful and debilitating disease," Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said in the statement.

The vaccine is manufactured by Merck.

All Passport Health locations carry Zostavax year round.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Passport Health is Seeing Relief Workers for Japanese Tsunami

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I know you have all seen the footage, but its hard to stop watching the amazing and frightening power of mother nature when the tsunami hits land, destroying everything in its path. Here at Passport Health we have begun to see relief crews who are on their way to aid in the efforts in Japan.

If you are planning to travel to Japan, make sure you are vaccinated. You will want to be up to date on Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (tdap), Hepatitis A & B, Flu and Pneumonia.  It is still early spring and was actually snowing in japan on the day the tsunami hit, so be sure to prepare for cold temperatures.  Food, water and sanitation issues are wide spread so bringing portable water purifiers, diarrhea treatment & prevention kits and first aid kits is highly recommended.

Our thoughts are with all of those effected by the devastation in Japan and our hearts go out to all those who are sacrificing of themselves to help.

THANK YOU!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where to Stay in Barbados

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There are many different hotels to choose from even on a small island. Every hotel has a specialty. Choose a hotel that fits you and start making the vacation of your dreams.


Sticking with a chain you know isn’t a bad thing. Hilton has a hotel that is right in St. Michael’s parish, so Bridgetown will be close. The Hilton offers many different activity options including a scuba diving program; you do need your certification.


For the personal touch, try this family owned hotel with fantastic Caribbean ambiance. The Coral Reef Club offers services at their tranquil spa that is made for people that just want to relax and be pampered.

Looking for a place to just relax and enjoy the sun, consider the Almond Beach Club and Spa. All you have to do at this luxury resort is lay back and enjoy because all meals and drinks (alcohol too) are included. Most activities are included too, for a full listing, click on the link.

If you would like to swim to the snack bar take a look at the Bougainvillea Beach Resort. But beware you have a minimum stay of seven days here at this more budget friendly hotel.

 Another thing to keep in mind is that many of these hotels offer honeymoon packages filled with activities for couples.