By Lauren Riebs
March 10, 2016
Preparing to travel outside of the United States can be an intensive endeavor. In addition to logistical obstacles such as airfare, visas, and passports, UC Davis faculty and staff must often consider immunizations and safety precautions for traveling abroad.
Thankfully, UC Davis offers some help for that. Occupational Health’s Travel Program provides free travel consultation and immunization services to persons employed by UC Davis.
The Travel Program was created to better benefit the UC Davis community who travel abroad for university affairs, accessibly located on campus in Cowell Building on California Avenue.
“We noticed that travel exams were often conducted through a primary care physician,” remarked Dr. Roger Belcourt, chief occupational health physician for the university. “In most cases, the process is expensive and takes place with providers that are not as familiar with travel medicine procedures.”
After discovering that an average of 2,000 UC Davis staff and faculty travel abroad for business every year, Dr. Belcourt and his team developed an idea to establish a more efficient arrangement. The program provides everything from a travel exam and counseling to immunizations and medications.
As the university expands their influence and leadership as a global research institution, faculty and research students are travelling around the world in the pursuit of knowledge and discovery. For example, PREDICT, a program led by the UC Davis One Health Institute, conducts global surveillance to detect and prevent emerging pathogens of pandemic potential.
“Every country has different vaccination requirements,” said Tracey Goldstein, Associate Professor SVM One Health Institute and Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, who has travelled internationally for the USAID funded PREDICT project since 2009. “The Travel Program helps by providing all the necessary pre-travel vaccinations and medications such as anti-malarial and antibiotics when traveling internationally.”
For the PREDICT project staff, immunizations are especially important as most of their work involves animals. “We are trying to detect emerging viruses in wildlife, in environments that have high risk contact between animals and humans,” Goldstein explains. In the field, PREDICT researchers collect samples, analyze the data in a lab, and assess the contact between animals and humans.
Goldstein is the global lead for the Cambodia team, but she travels to many other countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. A health concern in many research destinations is the potential to get Malaria, and providing anti-malarial medication is a service provided by the Travel Medicine program. Goldstein has also recently received a titer for measles and coxiella at Occupational Health for her projects in the field.
Upon leaving a travel consultation at Occupational Health, you will be presented with a Travax® Traveler Health Report. This handy documentation is full of descriptive information including the immunization recommendations, basic preventative measures, and travel advisory on transportation, emergency health, crime, currency, and more.
“Any potential danger or risk that could affect the traveler while in-country is included in the Travax report,” Stacey Brezing, Special Services Program Manager, guarantees.
In addition to pre-travel precautions, UC Davis offers at no cost to you, iJET® Travel Intelligence®, the world's premiere provider of practical destination intelligence and real-time travel alerts on location.
To learn more about the Travel Program, visit safetyservices.ucdavis.edu/article/travel-program.