Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Traveler’s Resource: Medical Clinic Offers Protection against Common Travel-Related Ailments

08/06/2014

Are you traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for a destination wedding and heard horror stories about traveler's diarrhea and malaria? Perhaps you're planning a visit to a more exotic locale, like Vietnam or Thailand, on a missionary trip and want to be sure you're caught up on all necessary vaccines and are aware of appropriate prevention strategies.

Whether you're traveling as a relief group, church group or simply traveling for leisure, The Traveler's Resource at Clara Maass Medical Center can help. Led by Medical Director Edward Johnson, MD, Internist and Infectious Disease Specialist, The Traveler's Resource at Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) provides full travel medicine services, including comprehensive healthcare information, immunizations and preventative medications and assessment for the international and national traveler.

Part of the infection control department, The Traveler's Resource offers pre-travel consultations for travelers to learn the necessary recommended vaccinations based upon current health condition, travel destination and anticipated activities while traveling.

"The vaccines and precautions an individual would need if they are staying in a hotel are different than if they are camping, spending time with animals or building a house," says Maryellen Marek, MLT (ASCP), MS, BSN, RN CIC, Director of Infection Control and Prevention at CMMC. "If someone is spending time with animals, we may recommend a rabies vaccine. If they are doing disaster relief work, a tetanus immunization may be recommended."

According to Dr. Johnson, the decisions surrounding vaccines and prevention strategies are joint decisions between the traveler and the consultant. "Weighing the risk and benefit of vaccines, medications and other prevention strategies is the art of good travel medicine. Some of these vaccines and medications are very expensive so we try to tailor to fit the individual and their budget. "

The Traveler's Resource, a certified yellow fever vaccination center, provides education and immunizations and prevention strategies for:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Meningococcal
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Diptheria/ Tetanus
  • MMR

"Vaccines are best looked at as being grouped in one of three categories: routine, such as MMR and tetanus; recommended, such as typhoid, Japanese encephalitis; and required or needed to enter a country or special event, such as yellow fever and meningococcal," said Dr. Johnson. "Travel consults become a wonderful opportunity to update routine vaccinations that may have become outdated."

Dr. Johnson and The Traveler's Resource staff also provide travelers with counseling for healthy and safe travel, as well as treating conditions such as traveler's diarrhea occurring while abroad or upon return.

"Many times, travelers develop symptoms of traveler's diarrhea after they return," said Dr. Johnson. "We encourage travelers to come in or contact us upon return if they are feeling ill."

In addition to Dr. Johnson and Maryellen Marek, the staff at The Traveler's Resource includes Donald J. Beggs, MD, an Infectious Disease physician at CMMC, and pediatrician Roger W. Cooper, Jr., MD. For trekkers, the faculty consults with podiatrist Wayne Caputo, DPM., for input concerning special podiatric issues. The Traveler's Resource staff, as a whole, has more than 40 years of experience in travel medicine and is certified by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the International Society of Travel Medicine.

When planning to travel, it is important to remember to visit a doctor four to six weeks before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.

For more information on The Traveler's Resource at Clara Maass Medical Center or to make an appointment with Dr. Johnson or the staff, please call 973.450.2209.

About Clara Maass Medical Center
Located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, provides a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey. Clara Maass' centers and services include The Health and Wellness Center, Nuclear Medicine, The Cancer Center at Clara Maass, Adult Cardiac Services including Diagnostic Services, Cardiac Catheterization, Elective and Emergency Angioplasty and Rehabilitation, The Pain Management Center, The Joint & Spine Institute, a Vascular Center, Same Day Surgery, The Wound Center at Clara Maass, The Center for Sleep Disorders, The Bariatric Surgery Center, Rehabilitation Services, The Eye Surgery Center, Maternity Services and Parent Education, as well as Pediatrics. For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.barnabashealth.org/claramaass

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