Latest News

By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

Smoke has been making headlines in Indonesia.

A 24-year-old Queensland man recently received a one-year jail sentence for smoking cannabis on a Bali beach – yet another reminder of Indonesia’s well-documented hard line on drug taking and trafficking by foreigners.

But, international visitors have been far more concerned about the ‘smoke’ rising from East Java’s Mount Raung volcano in recent weeks.

The resulting clouds of volcanic ash have meant costly delays in leaving Bali and other Indonesian destinations as airports were closed and flights cancelled. Many visitors found themselves out of pocket when their travel insurance did not cover costs associated with cancellations once the possibility of delayed departures was made known.

However, some Aussie travellers were worried about the possible impact on their health. (So far, Travelvax Australia has received no reports of respiratory conditions and we’re not anticipating any: Bali’s popular tourist enclaves are 140km from the still-smouldering volcano.)

Should travellers be at all concerned about Mount Raung, or other destinations with active volcanoes nearby? After all, Hawaii’s volcanoes are a tourist attraction, with visitors able to take helicopter flights over them, right?

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By Tonia Buzzolini*

One of the first questions we ask people who come to a Travelvax Australia clinic for the first time is: “Have you had any travel vaccinations in the past?”
A not-uncommon reply is: “Well, I had some for a trip a few years ago, but I’m not sure what I had…”
A flurry of shots with unfamiliar names are easily forgotten when you rely on memory alone. Sometimes some probing questions or a phone call or two can help piece together the details, but all too often getting an accurate, complete list proves frustratingly difficult.
Travel vaccines aren’t cheap: Consider them a long-term investment in healthy travel that not only protects for this journey, but those to come. Once completed, most vaccines provide extended protection needing only a ‘top-up’ booster down the track.
All the more reason to keep an accurate vaccination record, especially as vaccinations are increasingly required to attend child-care or school, for studying abroad, overseas postings, or for certain careers.

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By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

Every year a handful of travellers are mauled to death or badly injured by wild animals. There’s been a spate of these too-close encounters in recent weeks.
While some victims are simply unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, many victims of animal attacks on land break the rules of interacting with wildlife as laid down by the expert guides and rangers at the national parks and game reserves they visit.
Last week, a lioness mauled to death a 29-year-old American tourist and severely injured her male companion in a terrifying attack which occurred inside their vehicle when they stopped in a private game park near the South African city of Johannesburg.
Their mistake? Having the car’s windows down and allowing the lioness to come too close.

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By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

For much of the last fortnight, India has baked in temperatures of up to 48oC (118oF). The national death toll from heat since mid-April has now topped 2200 people - 1636 in southern Andhra Pradesh state alone.
The first hint of relief for India’s 1.3 billion people came last weekend with the arrival of the first rains of the Indian Ocean monsoon in the south. However, it will take weeks before they fall in northern India, where intense heat and dry winds have caused severe dehydration on a massive scale.
Scientists warn we can expect more heatwaves and other weather extremes in decades to come.
So, if you’re travelling abroad in summer, what should you do if your holiday is hit by a heatwave?

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By Laurie Sullivan

You might recall that I recently confessed to being the go-to guy for marauding mozzies at barbeques. Well, it’s time to admit that they also love me in bed, so to speak.
Once the buzzing in my ear has woken me, I can’t sleep until the tiny intruder has been dispatched. A shower of bug spray makes for a lingering death, but my preferred method is a more satisfying slap with slipper or thong delivered with extreme prejudice. Splat… take that!
Which is fine for the odd lone mozzie that sneaks into your bedroom.
But, what do you do when you’re travelling in the tropics and the mozzies are big, ferocious, at squadron strength, and possibly carrying diseases like malaria, dengue, or Chikungunya? Especially if the insect screens at your less-than-5-star digs have seen better days or are simply absent?
In the tropics, we are talking serious mozzies. The females are relentless and will spend hours searching for a chance to get a feed of your blood, the protein ‘hit’ they need to lay their eggs.

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Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

Whether you’re in a tiny ‘tinny’ on a lake or in the middle of the Pacific aboard a 300-metre luxury cruise ship, seasickness is no fun.
Just ask the passengers aboard Carnival Spirit as it weathered waves around 10 metres high overnight while waiting to enter Sydney Harbour last week.
Modern cruise ships have stabilisers that help to smooth out rough seas, but even a slight swell can ‘destabilise’ some passengers – especially first-timers.
In very rough seas nearly every passenger will get seasick, which is a form of motion sickness, to some degree.
But, on average 3 in every 10 travellers can expect to experience motion sickness during a journey – regardless of whether they’re going by ship, plane, train, bus, or car.

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