Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer in Tanzania

Traveler Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro and Discovers New Passion while Teaching Abroad

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer


Name: Jennifer
Originally lived in/traveled from Denver, CO; now living in Moshi, Tanzania
Destination: Tanzania
Trip Date: February and March, 2014

Tanzania is home to Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level, it is also the highest free standing mountain in the world. An estimated 25,000 people climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year. In our interview below, Jennifer shares her climbing adventure and personal discoveries made while in Tanzania.

What was the purpose of your trip?
I was in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro and to do volunteer work.

Did you travel alone, with family/friends, or with a group?
I climbed Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents International and volunteered with Cross-Cultural Solutions.

Do you have any previous experience with travel abroad?
Yes, I have traveled extensively and recently lived for a year in Bologna, Italy.

How did the daily life of the locals differ from the life you live back home?
In Moshi, most people live on less than $2 per day. People live with hardships such as lack of running water and electricity and high rates of HIV. They do not have many material things and so their joy comes more from experiences: visiting with family and friends, tending to children, making crafts, learning something new. They have the biggest and warmest smiles I have ever seen. They remind me that I don’t need security, status or things to be joyful.

Did you eat any local delicacies or interesting foods during your trip?
I ate a lot of fresh tropical fruits! The mango, pineapple, and watermelon in Tanzania are delicious. On the coast and in Zanzibar, I enjoyed lots of fresh seafood. I also came to enjoy ugali, or cornmeal porridge, which is a staple in East Africa.

How was the weather different than in your hometown?
Tanzania is on the equator and has a tropical climate. There are not four seasons, only a wet season and a dry season. I was there during the ending of dry season and the beginning of wet season. The rains are magnificent. When it rains, the streets become rivers of mud!

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

What was the most memorable experience during your trip?
Climbing Kilimanjaro was memorable because I made it to the summit but then developed HAPE – high altitude pulmonary edema. Climbing down the mountain with fluid in my lungs was far more difficult than climbing up, and was probably the most physically challenging thing I have ever done, and I have run marathons and climbed many other mountains. The other memorable experience was teaching high school during my volunteer placement. I was supposed to be doing health-related work, but this school really needed a teacher and they asked me if I would be willing to give it a shot. I tried it and loved it! The kids were amazing. I had such a great experience I am going back for at least another 6 months.

Did you find any cultural similarities between Tanzania and Denver?
People are people everywhere. Tanzanians love to laugh – they tend to have well-developed senses of humor. I would find myself joking around with the directors of my school as if they were my girlfriends back home. Sometimes I would marvel at how different our lives were. One of the directors was married when she was 14 to a man 30 years older who already had 3 wives, but we could still establish great rapport and working relationships, which were/are evolving quickly into genuine friendships.

What was most surprising about your trip?
I was surprised how much I loved teaching. I have never envisioned myself as a teacher – I always thought I would find the experience of a room full of children overwhelming. But these kids touched my heart every single day. I think I learn more from them than they do from me.

Passport Health Featured Traveler: Jennifer in Tanzania


What places of interest or activities do you recommend in Tanzania?
Tanzania is a great country in Africa to visit. It is a poor but stable country, with over 120 ethnic tribes living peacefully alongside one another. Moshi is at the base of Kilimanjaro, which is a very impressive mountain – the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Even if you don’t climb to Kili’s summit, you can still enjoy scenic day hikes at its base. There are numerous game parks in the area: Serengeti, Tarangire, and my personal favorite, Ngorongoro, which is considered by many to be the 8th wonder of the world. You also shouldn’t miss the Tanzanian coastline, which has miles and miles of undeveloped beaches. The beaches of Zanzibar are not to be missed either. They are busier than the beaches on the mainland, but they are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The sea there is mesmerizing; it is varying shades of turquoise, and changes color throughout the day and depending on the weather. When I was in Zanzibar, I just wanted to sit and watch the water all day long!

Did you visit any other countries in the area? If yes, which countries?
I did not visit any other countries but when I return, I would like to visit Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda. I feel like I could continue to explore sub-Saharan Africa for the rest of my days and never run out of things to learn, places to see, people to meet.

How did your trip impact the way you view life abroad?
I would say the trip deeply impacted me – I moved to Tanzania in June! The biggest impact was the realization of how rewarding cultural exchanges can be. I shared my skills and knowledge with some local schoolchildren, and they taught me about hope, resilience, and courage. Some of my kids have HIV, yet they do not complain. They come to school on time, with their clothes pressed and smiles on their faces, ready to learn. I am humbled by their example.

Are you planning a trip to Tanzania or another country? Be sure you are healthy and prepared for your adventure by scheduling a visit with a travel health specialist before you go.

Passport Health Global
Passport Health blog: Safari Enthusiasts, Get These Vaccinations for Tanzania
Cross-Cultural Solutions

Doing Good Globally: Project C.U.R.E.

The acts of giving and helping others are tremendously powerful. Not only does charitable giving open one’s eyes to a new perspective on life, but it also increases human feelings of connectedness by providing the knowledge that you, a single individual, put your unique talents to work to make a direct impact on the life of another human being. Volunteering time and talents and charitable giving allow us all to recognize that we have the power to effect change; what can be more fulfilling than realizing we all have the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Dr. James Jackson is a remarkable individual who put his experience and talents to work to effect change. Dr. Jackson describes himself as “the happiest man in the world.” However, his work as an international economic consultant in developing countries put him in direct contact with the unhappiest of situations in which people were impoverished, sick, and dying. Tragically, Dr. Jackson learned that many of these sick patients in developing countries often were denied care because the most basic medical supplies and equipment were not available to local clinics. After seeing this exact situation play out before his eyes during a trip to Brazil, Dr. Jackson was moved to action to provide relief to such people. When he returned to the U.S., Dr. Jackson began collecting medical supplies and storing them in the garage of his Colorado home. Within a month’s time, he was able to amass enough supplies to fill a cargo container; he shipped this to Brazil, and the rest is, well, history.

WATCH this video to learn more about how Project C.U.R.E delivers health and hope.

From this beginning that centered on the commitment of one individual to make a difference, Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment) has grown to be the largest provider of the highest quality donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. Not only is the organization notable for the quantity of supplies donated, but it is equally noteworthy for its constant innovation including efficient and accurate inventory systems, supply chain management, expert management of logistics, and strong in-country relationships. Since its founding, Project C.U.R.E. has reached patients and families in over 130 countries, delivering health and hope to the world’s most needy people. To meet these needs, the organization has expanded within the United States and currently maintains large distribution warehouses in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Tennessee. It operates over 400,000 square feet of warehouse space in 17 US cities, receives 26,000 types of donated medical supplies and equipment, and hosts more than 17,000 volunteers each year to sort, inspect, inventory, and pack supplies for delivery all over the globe. Operating on 1.6% administrative overhead, Project C.U.R.E is one of the 20 most cost-effective nonprofits in the US. More information and statistics about Project C.U.R.E. can be found in the organization’s annual report.

Project C.U.R.E.’s mission and services are indispensable in the modern world. The resource gap between the rich and poor is staggering, but Project C.U.R.E.’s donations help to fill the health gaps in developing countries by giving doctors and nurses the health tools they need to deliver quality care and medical services to their communities. As a result of the compassion, dedication, and hard work of thousands of volunteers across the US who give and coordinate the shipping of life-saving medical supplies every week from the Project C.U.R.E.’s warehouses, thousands of people are alive today who otherwise would not be.

With the help of so many dedicated and passionate supporters, Project C.U.R.E is able to continue delivering health and hope around the world, and Passport Health is proud to be able to provide support to this organization that is doing so much global good. Passport Health recently donated gloves, syringes, thermometers, and other medical supplies to support Project C.U.R.E.’s important, life-saving global work, and Passport Health looks forward to continuing to support Project C.U.R.E. in the future.

Barbara Bush once wisely observed, “Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.” Passport Health encourages you to put your talents to work in the service of others; not only will you expand your personal horizons, but you also have the opportunity to add value to society via individual good work.

To make a donation to Project C.U.R.E., please visit this webpage, and click here to learn more about the organization in general.

Good Health: Why Do Nurses Matter?

Group of Nurses


When you think of how medical professionals save lives on a daily basis, your mind probably turns to the hard work of physicians. While doctors carry a considerable load in promoting good health, nurses make a lifesaving impact on the lives of countless patients on a daily basis too. Nurses are an essential component in health promotion, disease prevention, patient care and education, and they are even more crucially important to promoting health and wellness during flu season.

The Lifesaving Impact of Nurses

Registered nurses are the backbone of the health care delivery system. They make significant impact on the lives of patients by providing around-the-clock monitoring, education, assessments and care. As the populations of the United States and Canada continue to age, with an increasing proportion of the populace made up of the elderly, nurses will play an even more important role in providing care and comfort to patients and their families. After all, the job of a nurse is to provide holistic care, educate patients, offer emotional support, prevent illness, promote health, deliver medication and aid in the cure of illness and injury.

There are many types of nurses you may encounter in a medical setting, including registered nurses, advance practice nurses, nurse practitioners and more. Nurses may have a specialty in labor and delivery, geriatrics, pediatrics, urgent care, psychiatry or other fields of expertise. During flu season, nurses with immunology expertise administer the flu vaccine to millions of recipients across North America.

How Nurses Change Lives

Nurses play an essential role in promoting health. The duties of nurses include patient education, vaccination, administration of medication, providing patient care, and providing medical rehabilitation. Nurses also advocate for their patients to help ensure that every individual gets appropriate care. Registered nurses not only make a day-to-day difference in your well-being and the well-being of your neighbors, friends and family, but they also promote public health and design innovative ways to enhance the health of people around the world.

The Importance of Flu Shots

Every fall, flu season begins in North America. The virus circulates around the world, and the virus typically changes enough that even if you got sick with the flu last year, you can still get sick again. The flu is a serious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications, especially among young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Luckily, you can protect yourself from this potentially deadly disease by getting your annual flu vaccination, administered by a dedicated nurse.

Your flu nurse will generally administer the flu vaccine via one of two delivery methods. The nasal mist flu vaccine can be sprayed directly into a patient’s nostrils. Alternatively, most people choose to get a flu shot injection to protect not only themselves but also their loved ones and wider community from illness. Indeed, when a nurse gives you the flu shot, there is not only less chance that you will fall ill, but also less chance that you will unknowingly pass the virus on to others. Remember that the most vulnerable members of society, such as the very young or those with compromised immune systems, typically cannot get the flu shot. By getting vaccinated, you, and the nurse who administered your vaccine, help protect others.

Are you a Registered Nurse looking to make an extra impact this flu season? Apply for a rewarding job administering flu vaccine with Passport Health.

Passport Health: Careers
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario: Careers in Nursing
EduBlogs: Why Registered Nurses Are Important
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Possible Breakthrough in Malaria Vaccine Research

Vaccine Research


The impact of malaria around the world is incredible. This scourge is a leading cause of death in tropical regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. Multiple types of Plasmodium parasites cause malaria and several types of mosquitoes spread the parasites through their bites. Because of the efficiency of Anopheles mosquitoes and the prevailing weather conditions that allow year-long transmission, the health and economic impacts of malaria are significant. More than 216 million cases of malaria are diagnosed around the world annually, and more than 627,000 people die each year of the disease. More than 90 percent of those deaths are African children. Because of this, scientists have long been searching for a vaccine. A recent discovery in a rare group of immune children may hold important clues for successful vaccine development.

The Immune Children

Scientists have discovered a rare group of children in Tanzania who maintain a natural immunity to malaria infection. These children have developed an antibody capable of killing off the parasites and preventing infection. The original group of children included 1,000 individuals who had blood taken at regular intervals. Researchers found that 6 percent of the children had immunity to the Plasmodium parasites. The antibodies within the children halted infection by containing the parasites within the red blood cells. This effectively halted the complex life cycle of the parasites.

Vaccine Research

The American researchers collected antibodies from the malaria-resistant Tanzanian children and injected them into mice. When the laboratory mice were exposed to Plasmodium parasites, they resisted infection. Mice that received the antibodies survived an average of twice as long and had less than one-fourth of the number of parasites in their blood compared to mice that did not receive antibodies from the children. International health scientists believe that these antibodies could hold the key to a successful vaccine.

Other Malaria Vaccine Research

One vaccine is currently in a stage III clinical trial as its developer seeks federal regulatory approval to expand the study. This is because the Phase III clinical trials showed that the drug nearly cut in half the number of malaria cases in young children and lowered malaria cases in infants by nearly 25 percent.

Why a Malaria Vaccine Is Important

Although they may have fought the disease through treatment, the survivors of malaria infection still deal with ongoing health problems, including limitations in their ability to perform self-care and other daily activities. For individuals dealing with malaria infection, the economic costs are high, including the purchase of drugs for treating malaria at home, costs related to visiting medical clinics and pharmacies, reduced productivity at work, absence from work or school, expenses for further preventive measures such as mosquito netting, and expenses for burial when death results from infection. Governments must deal with high costs as well, including maintaining health facilities, providing treatment and medication, providing preventive public health measures, and dealing with reduced economic growth.

Protecting Yourself from Malaria

If you plan to make a trip to a region of the world where malaria is endemic, be sure to visit a travel health clinic. During your visit, a travel health specialist can provide you with anti-malarial drugs to help reduce your risk of infection. You’ll also receive a pre-travel health exam, any necessary travel vaccines and medications, and guidance on using mosquito repellant, mosquito nets and other equipment.

Tech times: Novel malaria vaccine made from blood of Tanzanian children immune to the disease hailed as breakthrough
BBC News: Immune Children Aid Vaccine Hunt
Times of India: Scientists find rare group of children who are naturally immune to malaria
Centers for Disease Control: Malaria Vaccines

Top 10 Safety Travel Tips for Female Business Travelers

traveling businesswoman

Female business travelers have become an increasingly powerful and important travel market segment over the past few years as more women continue to enter into fields that have a heavy travel requirement such as finance, marketing, and business. As the percentage of female business travelers continues to rise, female professionals are on track to travel just as much as their male counterparts. Many women who travel alone describe an incredible sense of freedom and possibility, but there are also the challenges, ranging from safety to health, that make solo traveling daunting enough that many women may never take the opportunity.

All travelers should always take precautions, but here are Passport Health’s top 10 safety travel tips especially designed for female business travelers.

1. Take Your Health with You

Whether you’re a business executive or a seasoned adventurer, you’ll need to deal with unique health issues on the road. It’s crucial to have an individual travel health assessment; receiving required immunizations, obtaining travel health insurance, understanding tropical disease prevention strategies, and traveling with prescription medications will all help to keep you well overseas. In addition, packing an adequate supply of feminine hygiene products, contraceptives, and a first aid kit is essential since some items may be scarce in some parts of the world.

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Always be conscious of your surroundings and the people around you. Never leave your food or drinks unattended and don’t appear or tell anyone you are traveling alone. In addition, avoid walking alone late at night, and stay in public areas where there are always other people around. Taking some time before your trip to research your destination will help you determine the unsavory parts of the town to avoid.

3. Crime-Proof Yourself

It’s crucial that solo female travelers do not stand out from the crowd. You should minimize any attention brought to yourself to avoid running into trouble. Lower your tourist profile and try not to ever give the impression you’re lost. If you are lost, ask for directions from a police officer, shop keeper, or another woman on the street. Make sure to leave all valuable items in your hotel safe, and avoid carrying any flashy items around. This will help minimize the attention from thieves who may think a solo woman is an easy target.

4. Find Safe Accommodations

A traveler’s primary goal should be finding the safest accommodations in order to feel comfortable on her trip. Ground transportation and hotel accommodations should be planned well in advance. Requesting a room that is not on the ground level, is close to the elevators, and has proper safety features like locks on the doors and windows will all contribute to a safer environment. Planning all the transportation arrangements ahead of time and relying on the hotel’s recommendations can help to ensure you’re using only legal and reputable driving services.

5. Stay Connected

When traveling solo, it’s important to stay in touch with someone who can keep tabs on you, whether it’s a friend or family member. Make sure to keep that person up-to-date with your location, and provide him or her with a general itinerary of your trip. It’s also a good idea to link up with other solo female travelers along the way with whom you feel comfortable sharing a taxi or sitting next to on a train or bus.

6. Make Sure You’re Covered

When getting ready to travel, having the right insurance is a key consideration to maximize any traveler’s peace of mind and safety overseas. There are three different types of insurance travelers should consider, including medical evacuation, travel health, and trip cancellation insurance. Women who are traveling alone should always be prepared for the different situations that could occur, and it’s best to only seek medical help from high-quality providers. Insurance will help alleviate concerns about expense.

7. Confidence is Key

Whether you’re walking on a street at home or 7,000 miles away, walking confidently and with direction is an effective technique for making yourself appear less vulnerable. Women should look and act as if they know where they are going and know what they are doing at all times. An easy way to do this is to try and blend in with the locals in terms of actions and appearance. Make sure you are always polite but reserved, since some types of body language and smiling can be interpreted as a sign of encouragement towards males.

8. Identity Protection

For female travelers, there are a few tips that are easy to implement to protect your identity and disguise that you’re flying solo. When checking into a hotel, sign in as Mr. or Mrs., and ask the desk clerk not to mention your room number aloud so other guests can’t hear. Leave the television or radio on when you’re gone as well as the do not disturb sign to give the illusion the room is occupied. Whether or not you are married, wearing a fake wedding ring may fend off unwanted attention. In addition, as a precaution against loss or theft, have copies of all your travel documents, and leave a copy with family and friends at home.

9. Strictly Business

Women who travel abroad for professional purposes may realize in some parts of the world, the concept of a career women is highly unusual. It’s important to get thoroughly acquainted with the destination country’s customs and business protocol. You should always meet your business contacts in the lobby of your hotel to avoid giving out your room number. Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the office and conform to the attire that is acceptable in your destination.

10. Find Your Feet

Females who travel abroad for business may find that, in some parts of the world, privileges and rights are different for women when compared to the equality and freedoms enjoyed at home. Among some of these challenges are a lack of access to female physicians and discriminatory treatment by officials. It is important to maintain cultural sensitivity while abroad and inform yourself before you go. The more you are able to adjust to the different culture norms, the safer you will be in your travels.

Which Vaccinations Do I Need for Peru?

Machu Picchu, Peru


A trip to Peru with a hike up the Inca Trail is an adventure trip not to be missed. Make sure you are well protected before your adventure begins.

Handy Tips for Enjoying the Peruvian Andes

First, bring sunscreen. Even if it is cloudy outside, you can still get a sunburn while exploring Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail. Select a good sunscreen that is SPF 50 or higher, and apply it several times throughout the day.

When you arrive in Peru, you will be given an Andean migration card instead of a visitor’s visa. You cannot lose this piece of paper as you will need in order to stay in hotels and even leave the country. If you’re afraid of losing this document, keep it paper-clipped to the front page of your passport.

When you go to Machu Picchu, you will need to bring your passport. On a positive note, you can get a novelty stamp proving that you visited the ancient ruin!

Don’t be afraid to ask your hotel to help set up a trip for you. Most hotels and hostels that cater to foreign tourists are experienced in organizing visits to towns and landmarks. They can arrange transportation for you as well. You can also inquire about a tour guide who can translate for you and give you a local’s a local’s perspective of their favorite mountain views.

While visiting Peru and the breathtaking Andes Mountains can be exciting, you also need to prepare adequately for your journey. In some instances, you may need to get vaccinated against certain diseases. Scheduling a pre-travel health consultation is the best way to get the most out of your Peruvian vacation.

Which Vaccinations Do I Need for Peru?

If you’re headed to Peru, then you need to make sure that you take steps to safeguard your health at least four weeks prior to departure. If you are unsure about what vaccines you will need for travel to Peru, a travel health specialist will expertly assess what is required based on your current state of health and your medical history.

Most people needing immunizations for Peru will need to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Since the disease can be easily contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water, both of these vaccines are recommended prior to travel. Symptoms include fever and vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and clay-colored stools. If you are infected, you could be ill for as long as six months.

Symptoms of Typhoid include high fevers, delirium, cough and gastrointestinal distress. If you are traveling around remote parts of the Andes, you may be susceptible to contracting Typhoid. Completing a vaccination schedule at least two weeks prior to your trip will provide you with immunity against the disease.

Other recommended shots for Peru include Hepatitis B, Rabies and Yellow fever. Your travel health specialist may also recommend that you bring anti-malarial drugs with you on your trip if you plan on camping outside. Regardless of which vaccinations you need, make sure that you have enough time before your trip to fit in any booster doses that you might need. Some vaccines are not fully effective after just one dose, and others take a couple of weeks to provide effective immunity against diseases.

Going to Peru? Make an Appointment with a Travel Health Specialist Today!

By scheduling a consultation with a travel health specialist, you can make sure that you spend every minute of your trip enjoying Peru and its breath-taking scenery. Vaccinations can mean the difference between having a great time and being hospitalized for a serious illness. It simply makes sense to take care of your health before you go. Good luck and happy travels!

CDC Travel Destination Page for Peru
Passport Health Destination Page for Peru
Everywhereist Post on Peru
CDC Page on Typhoid Fever
CDC Page on Hepatitis A

Safari Enthusiasts, Get These Vaccinations for Tanzania!

Flamingos flying Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania
Flamingos Flying, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania


A wildlife safari in Tanzania is an adventurer’s dream come true. Make sure you are well protected before your exotic adventure.

Five Tips for an Unbeatable Safari in Tanzania

A safari is often a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Here are five tips on how you can have a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  1. Since you will most likely be traveling with Tanzanian guides while on safari, you should try to learn a little bit of Kiswahili. It’s a nice gesture and shows that you respect the local culture and customs.
  2. Always listen to your tour guide during the safari. If they say that it is not safe to leave the vehicle or the camping area, then don’t move until you have permission to do so. Never wander off by yourself. The guide is there to watch out for you; they have your best interests in mind.
  3. Be sure to bring insect repellent and long-sleeved shirts and pants for dusk, when mosquitoes are the most active. This is to minimize your risk of contracting malaria.
  4. Avoid drinking the tap water or water from lakes, rivers and streams. You could get very sick from this. Your guide will usually provide you with bottled water that is safe to drink.
  5. Finally, you should schedule a pre-travel health consultation with a travel health specialist before you even set foot on the plane. You may need vaccinations for Tanzania in order to stay healthy during your journey.

What Vaccines Do I Need for Tanzania?

When you arrive for your appointment, the travel health specialist will examine you and look at your medical history. Their primary goal is to make sure that you are fit to travel. If you are, then they may suggest that you receive a number of recommended immunizations for Tanzania in addition to any routine vaccinations that need booster doses. Be sure to schedule your first appointment at least four weeks before you leave on your trip.

Most travelers should be vaccinated against typhoid as it can be spread through contaminated food and water. You could be sick for a very long time if you contract hepatitis A or typhoid. Receiving vaccinations for these diseases is definitely worth it.

You should also be vaccinated against hepatitis B and rabies, especially if you plan on going on safari. If you will be at risk of animal bites at any point during your trip, then the rabies vaccination could save your life.

You will also need a yellow fever vaccine. While the Center for Disease Control, or CDC, does not typically recommend receiving a yellow fever vaccine for travel to Tanzania, it is a good idea to get vaccinated if you will be staying in the country for a long period of time. You may need to provide proof of your yellow fever vaccination to the Tanzanian authorities if an outbreak has occurred and you have recently been traveling through endemic areas.

You should also consider bringing prescribed anti-malarial drugs with you on your trip as a prophylactic measure.

Don’t Wait – Make a Travel Health Appointment Today

If you need immunizations for your trip to Tanzania, don’t hesitate to get the travel health care you need from a specialist prior to your departure. Getting the vaccinations deemed necessary for a Tanzanian safari can mean the difference between seeing exotic animals and seeing the walls of a hospital from a hospital bed. Good luck, have fun and remember to purchase some travel insurance before you go.

CDC Traveler Information Page for Tanzania
Travel Article Tips for Going on a Safari
Passport Health Page for Tanzania

Chikungunya Cases Reported in the U.S.



In this age of true globalization, any place on earth is just a plane ride away. It’s amazing to think that within 24 hours, a person could travel from the heart of Toronto or New York City to a remote barrier island or the middle of a rainforest. However, with the rise in globalization comes the spread of vector-borne infectious diseases. Mosquitoes can hitch a ride in shipping containers and bring exotic diseases like Chikungunya right to your doorstep.

What Is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes. It’s caused by a virus that mosquitoes transmit through a bite. The infection isn’t contagious and is rarely deadly, but its symptoms can cause severe rashes, fever and joint pain that can last for months. Because mosquitoes are difficult to control, once the virus is in a population of them, it’s likely to cause many human infections.

How Is Chikungunya Spread?

There are currently three cases of Chikungunya in North Carolina and two in Alabama; however, more than 250,000 residents of the Caribbean have been infected since December when the disease first showed up. According to an interview done by WSPA TV 7 with Melanie Kohr, Vice President of Operations at Passport Health, Chikungunya could become a more widespread infection throughout North America. While the current cases of the disease are in people recently returning from travel to endemic areas in Africa and Asia, all it takes is for a healthy mosquito to bite an infected person and then transmit the infection to a new person. During the first week of infection, a person can transmit the virus from their blood into a new mosquito. This is how similar infections such as the West Nile Virus became prevalent over most of the United States. If you do get Chikungunya, stay indoors during the first week of illness.

What Are the Health Risks of Chikungunya?

There is no vaccine or medication to prevent or treat Chikungunya. People who become infected may be too ill to go to work or school. This can result in personal economic difficulty and widespread loss of productivity as the infection spreads. In some parts of the world, the effects on the health care system are staggering. Diagnosing Chikungunya can be difficult without advanced laboratory facilities, which may allow the infection to spread further as people don’t realize what is causing them to be sick.

How to Protect Yourself from Chikungunya Infection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect yourself from Chikungunya infection is to reduce your risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that carry Chikungunya virus are active and bite during the daytime hours. When you travel to an affected area or even when you just go outside into your own back yard, wear long sleeves. Tuck your pants into your socks to ensure no skin is exposed. Wear an insect repellant that contains DEET, and put the insect repellant on after any other lotions or your sunscreen. Keep screens on your windows to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside. Make the area around your home or business less desirable to mosquitoes by dumping out any buckets or flower pots with standing water.

If you’re planning a visit to any areas of the world where Chikungunya is widespread, visit a travel health specialist for a pre-travel health exam and education on precautions that you can take to minimize risk of exposure to this and other illnesses endemic to your destination. You’ll receive any vaccinations available for your trip as well as guidance on medications, packing and other helpful safety information to use during your travels.

WSPA: Chikungunya Reported in Buncombe County
National Geographic: Chikungunya in Caribbean Mosquitoes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Chikungunya Second Case of Mosquito-borne Chikungunya Virus Discovered

Passport Health Featured Nurse: Denise L. – San Diego, CA

Name: Denise L.
Passport Health location: San Diego, CA (Mission Valley)

We truly value our team members at Passport Health. They are the ones that make a direct impact in our clients’ lives as they entrust us with their healthcare needs. Denise has been with Passport Health for 10 years. Since the start of her adventure with Passport Health, she has been a key part in supporting smooth operations in her home clinic in San Diego. Not only does she provide excellent care and a high-level of service to clients seen in our clinic, but she also delivers this same level of care to the employees of our national account clients at their on-site events. We asked Denise about her role at Passport Health and the overall experience she delivers to our clients’ to care for their healthcare and travel needs.

Passport Health Featured Nurse: Denise L.
Denise L. in Eqypt


What is your background? What did you do before you started working at Passport Health in 2004?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. For many years I worked with children in the foster care system. One of my favorite projects was as a director, I developed a transitional housing program for young adults exiting foster care. This program assisted young adults by providing housing, along with career and living skills. It was a great success and it is still operating today.

What drew you to travel medicine?
I’ve always enjoyed helping others and experiencing other cultures. Travel medicine allows me to bring my experience from my own travels and my medical knowledge to assist others in preparing for their international adventure.

Tea in Dahab, Egypt
Photo from Denise’s trip to Egypt: Tea in Dahab


How do you stay up to date on the latest developments in travel medicine?
I stay up to date by reading medical reviews about diseases related to travel medicine, the websites of the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization. Due to my expertise in travel medicine and vaccines, I have been a speaker for 3 pharmaceutical companies. I have spoken to large health organizations and public health departments regarding vaccine preventable diseases and the corresponding vaccines.

What is your favorite thing about your job?
Hearing the patient’s excitement of their upcoming adventures and knowing that I am helping them stay healthy during their trip.

Ramesses, Ptah, Sekhmet statue in Eqypt
Photo from Denise’s trip to Egypt: Ramesses, Ptah, Sekhmet Statue


Are you an international traveler yourself?
Yes, I have traveled to the Caribbean, Central America, Europe and Africa.

What do you think differentiates a Passport Health appointment from an appointment at another clinic that does not focus on travel medicine?
Passport Health staff have extensive training on vaccines, medications and preventive measures for the travelers. Patients enjoy their appointments with Passport Health because they are given a relaxed atmosphere, a generous amount of time to learn about health risks of the country they are visiting and they have time to ask questions. They like that Passport Health staff’s primary focus is pre-travel medicine and the various diseases that they may encounter.

Are you planning a trip abroad? Be sure you are healthy and prepared for your adventure by scheduling a visit with a travel health specialist before you go!

Ramadan: A Unifying Islamic Holy Month

Silhouette of Mosque

Tourists from all over the world travel to Islamic countries to experience some of the most exotic and breathtaking places on the planet including Egypt, Oman, UAE, Indonesia, Iran, and Malaysia. If you plan on traveling to a Muslim-majority region during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, you can count on a fascinating experience like no other. With the start of Ramadan that runs from the end of June to the end of July, both tourists and Islamic people have the chance to open their eyes and see the truth of universal humanity.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad and is celebrated for the whole ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This month is a time of fasting for the Islamic people where during each day they abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn until the sun sets. After sunset, there’s a euphoric iftar which is the meal that breaks the fast followed by a late-night suboor, the pre-dawn meal. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the Islam religion, as well as one of the main types of Islamic worship. This holiday brings Muslims together in prayer and through the breaking of the fast. During this time, they focus on restraining themselves from everyday enjoyments and cravings which is considered an act of compliance and obedience to God, as well as amends for sins, faults, and mistakes. It is a time for Muslims to cleanse the soul through self-control and to focus their attention on God by requesting for forgiveness for past sins and praying for future direction.

Traveling During Ramadan

If you are planning on traveling during this unifying holy month, it’s important to be in the Ramadan swing of things. Before you leave for your adventure, it’s important to check the laws of the country you’ll be traveling to since places have different rules about public observance of the fast. Just like any other holiday, Ramadan does affect business hours of operation and many venues operate with limited hours and staff. In addition, daytime meals may be scarce so it’s a good idea to plan in advance for food and activities if you are not observing Ramadan. Make sure to always be aware of who you are eating and drinking in front of when you’re out during the day as some places are much stricter than others. You should try saving most of your energy for the nightly festivities to get the chance to experience and observe these exciting Islamic traditions.

During this month is still a great time to travel to Islamic countries since practice does not make a huge amount of difference to normal routines. In addition, you get the chance to see a whole new side to these regions and cultures that only occur one month out of the year. So go ahead and experience the Ramadan tradition and all the great things it has to offer to foreign travelers.

Make an Appointment with a Travel Health Specialist Today!

By scheduling a consultation with a Travel Health Specialist, you can make sure that you enjoy every minute of your trip during Ramadan. A Travel Health Specialist will provide education regarding safety precautions based on your destination and planned activities, as well as any vaccinations that may be required or recommended. Vaccinations mean the difference between having an enjoyable experience and being hospitalized for a serious illness. It simply makes sense to take care of your health before you go.

Top Tips for Traveling During Ramadan via Lonely Planet
What is Ramadan? via
Important Rulings Regarding Fasting via