Latest News

By Dr Jennifer Sisson*

Are you pregnant or do you and your partner plan to start a family soon?
If so, do you intend to travel overseas this year?
If you answered ‘yes’ to both of those questions the list of places considered safe for you to visit is shrinking rapidly due to the Zika virus.
Worrying developments continue to keep the mosquito-borne virus firmly in the headlines.
Evidence is becoming stronger that the virus is linked to a sharp increase in cases of microcephaly among infants born to Zika-infected mothers in tropical Latin America and the Pacific islands, along with other neurological conditions.
Microcephaly causes babies to be born with a smaller-than-normal head and is likely to result in lifelong brain damage.

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By Laurie Sullivan

Red hot motorcycle mufflers… petrol-soaked skipping ropes at Full Moon parties… bare feet on baking sand… flaming cocktail drinks. There’s a long list of ways to get a burn on an overseas holiday.

And, they’re not the exclusive province of young travellers: Friction or ‘gravel rash’ burns from a fall onto a roadway or concrete footpath are even more common.

Together they add a whole new meaning to ‘travel hotspot’.

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By Laurie Sullivan

Everyone’s heard a horror story of someone who has come a cropper over travel insurance.
They either don’t have insurance only to get sick/injured/ripped off overseas and their parents/family/friends had to sell a kidney to get them treated and brought home.
Okay, not a kidney, but you get the idea. It can turn into a very expensive nightmare.
Then there are those who are insured and make a claim only to get knocked back because of some obscure clause buried in the policy’s ‘fine print’.
These often-tragic tales become the stuff of travel urban legends, swapped in hushed tones by travellers who fervently hope that they’ll never add their own unhappy chapter.
The Australian government’s smartraveller website has many such stories. The altered names barely disguise the physical and financial pain visited on each luckless traveller and their families when holidays go wrong. 

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By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

Could condoms help protect Australian babies from the dangers of the mosquito-borne Zika virus?
The answer’s ‘yes’.
Let me explain why…
Much has been written recently about the suspected link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a sudden spike in microcephaly in infants born to women infected during pregnancy in Latin America.
Experts from around the globe are studying the phenomenon. However, it’s looking increasingly likely that the virus is the cause of the condition, which results in the child being born with a smaller skull and brain, leaving them with lifelong neurological damage.
But, it’s not only women already pregnant or those planning to conceive who should either avoid travel to Zika-infected regions – which now includes much of the Caribbean, the Americas, and parts of SE Asia, the Pacific and Africa – or, if they do go, take measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.
Their male partners also should be aware of the potential threat Zika could pose.
And, that’s where condoms come in.

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By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

Aussie travellers have been criticised for their laid-back attitude to in-flight fashion.
Expedia surveyed more than 11,000 travellers from 22 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and Latin America on their flying habits.
Of the Australians surveyed, 91% of respondents (both women and men) said they dressed for comfort and ‘didn’t care how they looked’. They were happy to forego trendy tight jeans and body-hugging jackets for track pants and a jumper.
You know what? All those Aussie travellers are absolutely right to risk the odd fashion faux pas by choosing loose-fitting clothing – especially for a long international flight.

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By Dr Eddy Bajrovic*

If you were to examine the surface of some types of fruit and vegetables through a microscope you’d see a maze of cracks and crevices.
Invisible to the naked eye, these tiny trenches are perfect places for germs to become trapped and multiply.
We’ve seen just how effective contaminated salad vegetables can be at causing food poisoning over the past week. As of Monday, 92 people had been made ill by salmonella across Australia after eating pre-packaged leafy salad mixes, with more expected.
Although the outbreak is still under investigation, food industry experts believe it’s linked to either contaminated fertiliser (from chickens), or to the water that was used to irrigate the crop or wash the lettuce before it was bagged at Tripod Farms in Victoria.
Salmonella is an increasingly common cause of food poisoning in Australia. There were just over 17,000 lab-confirmed cases here last year – the highest tally in 25 years. Many milder cases are not recorded at all.
Worryingly, strains of the bacterium are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.  

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