Health Information for Overseas Travel

Vanessa Field, Lisa Ford, David Hill
DOI: 149 First published online: 1 March 2011
Peter A. Leggat. MD, PhD, DrPH, FAFPHM, FACTM, FFTM ACTM, FFTM RCPSG, FRGS, Anton Breinl Centre , James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland , Australia , E‐mail:peter.leggat{at}

Following in the tradition of International Travel and Health 1 and Health Information for International Travel,2 Health Information for Overseas Travel is the latest addition to the exclusive portfolio of major guidelines in travel health. The completely revised 2010 edition of Health Information for Overseas Travel is a major update of what is known in the UK as the “Yellow Book.” It has a table of Contents, a Preface, six main sections, a comprehensive index, and an Acknowledgements and a Disclaimer on the inside back cover. The textbook contains a number of algorithms and 11 maps, as well as numerous tables and figures. The book is usefully spiral bound and in full color on hard wearing gloss paper. The guidebook has an insert that has a “Risk Assessment Form” on one side and a “Risk Management Checklist” on the other, which would be useful templates for the pretravel consultation.

Health Information for Overseas Travel is a comprehensive guidebook and manual designed for the travel health practitioner and travel clinic. The six major sections include “Introduction to UK Travel Health,”“The Pre‐Travel Consultation,”“Special Risks—Traveller and Travel,”“The Post‐Travel Consultation.”“Disease Guide,” and “Resource Guide.” There is no online version, but some sample chapters can be downloaded from NaTHNaC, as well as a summary of minor changes since publication. 3 By far the largest part of the guidebook is Section 5 (157 pp) devoted to the Disease Guide covering an A–Z of disease risks in travel medicine. Sections and subsections are consistently presented in point form with practically oriented content.

In addition to the standard features the reader would expect from a comprehensive guidebook in this field, there are a number of highlights in Health Information for Overseas Travel, including the authoritative sections on Medical Tourism (Section 3.2.8) and Natural Disasters (Section 3.2.9). The guidebook is needless to say quite UK‐centric and it states this in its subtitle Prevention of Illness in Travellers from the UK. It is pleasing to note that culture shock and psychological issues of travel (Sections 2.3.10 and 3.1.13) are covered in this guidebook, although there is some repetition in places. Migrant health, an area closely allied to travel medicine at international level, also does not appear to be a special focus of this guide, although it does discuss the important issues of visiting friends and relatives (Section 3.2.11) and pilgrimage to the Hajj/Umrah (Section 3.2.10). The Resources Guide (Section 6) is particularly useful for travelers and travel health advisors in the UK.

Health Information for Overseas Travel is an essential reference for all those working in travel health in the UK. Many Commonwealth and other countries also have a strong interest in the travel health recommendations in the UK. Globally, it is a comprehensive reference, whose structure would probably see it easily converted to an iPhone/iPad/iPod application, where there is limited competition at present. Health Information for Overseas Travel is an important new reference among that exclusive international portfolio of major reference guidebooks in travel medicine.


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