In 2012, the world’s airports, seaports and other border checkpoints saw the arrival of over 1 billion international travellers. Compare this to the paltry 25 million international arrivals that took place in 1950, and you can begin to appreciate just how much international travel has grown over the last few decades.
As costs of travel have fallen, the social consequences have been great — tourists are able to visit exotic destinations their parents and grandparents may have only read about; migrants are able to make regular visits back to their homeland; and millions of students travel to foreign countries every year for university and college education.
But what impact does all of this global movement of people have on health and disease control? Does travel present particular health risks for the individual traveller? And what about consequences at the community level?
For this week’s episode of Up Close, I interviewed infectious disease and public health physician Associate Professor Tilman Ruff from the Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Unit of the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne about travel medicine. And it’s not all about mosquitoes and diarrhoea.