Archive for the ‘travel health’ Category

AccuWeather Launches New Mosquito Zika Risk Index for US

October 18, 2017

Accuweather-zika

AccuWeather, a major source of weather forecasts and warnings, announced a Mosquito Zika Risk Index on AccuWeather.com and AccuWeather iOS apps. Availability on the AccuWeather app for Android will follow soon.

The first-of-its-kind index gives users a quick and easy way to view the likelihood of mosquito infestations that could lead to greater risk of contracting the Zika virus at a particular location in the contiguous U.S. The Index will help people understand where the greatest concentrations of mosquitos exist (which may carry other pathogens as well) and where and how this is related to possible Zika carrying concentrations.  The Index is not a medical warning or diagnosis and decisions about one’s health and related risks and is not intended to be, those decisions should always be made in concert with medical professionals.  The Index can alert people to relatively unsafe areas; keeping in mind that a Zika carrying mosquito could exist in safer areas as well.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index level (very low, low, medium, or high) is generated by evaluating the historical habitat for the mosquito species most linked with Zika and the latest scientific research on how weather affects Zika transmission by mosquitos, then combining it with the AccuWeather Day-By-Day 90-Day Forecasts. This innovative index benefits users by providing real-time insights they can use to make informed decisions to keep themselves, and their families, safe.

“Weather is an enormous factor when it comes to our health,” said Steve Smith, President of Digital Media, AccuWeather. “We are glad to lead the way in offering an array of innovative product enhancements that help people derive important and useful information from our weather forecasts.  This new Mosquito Zika Risk index will help people make better decisions to protect their health by giving them the insight they need to avoid risky scenarios, or take necessary precautions when visits to high-risk areas are unavoidable.”

People can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the Personalized Forecasts Menu on the AccuWeather.com homepage. Select the Mosquito forecast and click the button labeled “Check Your Zika Risk” to open the Mosquito Zika Risk Index page.

Risk level information for the user’s location will be presented at the top of the page. If Zika cases suspected to have been transmitted by mosquitos have been reported at this location, the number of cases will be displayed. Users can view details for additional U.S. locations by clicking on the map displayed on the page.

An interactive timeline lets visitors see predicted risk levels over a 90-day period, with color coding to indicate the risk contours on the map. This is particularly helpful at this time of the year, when rapid changes to Zika mosquito risk occur as temperature patterns change during the Fall.  Tapping the dates on the timeline triggers the map to show the index for different timeframes.

Users of the AccuWeather app for iOS can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the menu located in the bottom right corner of the screen. Expanding this menu and selecting “View Map” opens a map page with a gray search box at the top of the screen. Tapping on the search box permits users to choose “Zika Risk from Mosquitos” from a selection of maps. Users can then scroll around the map, zoom in and out by pinching the screen, and tap on an area to see the current Zika risk in that location. Color-coded risk levels, from low to high, displayed on the map make the information quickly and easily accessible and understandable.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index is AccuWeather’s latest product enhancement designed to save and improve people’s lives by providing contextually relevant information, in this case to reduce the risk of an infectious disease. In addition to ensuring safety with the most accurate weather forecasts and warnings, AccuWeather.com and the company’s iOS and Android apps already include a Pollen Index to help people protect themselves against pollen as an allergen. Having the most accurate forecasts and warnings also gives migraine or joint pain sufferers the information they need to avoid humidity, and people with asthma the information they need to avoid dry conditions.

“This new Mosquito Zika Risk Index takes our efforts to use weather forecasts for improved health one step further,” said Smith. Smith also noted that the index is especially timely during this extraordinary hurricane season, when residents of Texas and Florida are experiencing a greater pooling of standing water due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which may ultimately lead to greater infestations of mosquitoes.

Dr. Joacim Rocklov, Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Global Health at Umea University, Sweden, urges caution about the threat of Zika virus following a major flood event.  “The risk of Zika typically decreases in the first month following a flood event, then increases in the two- to three-month time frame before falling back to normal levels,” he said.

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute forecasts with Superior Accuracy™ with customized content and engaging video presentations available through smart phones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites via AccuWeather.com, award-winning AccuWeather apps, connected TVs, wearables, smart homes, and connected cars, as well as radio, television, newspapers, and the AccuWeather Network cable channel.

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Austin Adventures Amends Cancellation Policy to Alleviate Ebola Fears

October 29, 2014

It’s a highly unlikely event, but should health officials report a confirmed case of Ebola within 500 miles of an Austin Adventures vacation host city, the company is announcing that it will waive its trip cancellation fee.

“While we realize that the odds of Ebola affecting our itineraries are minuscule at best, we hope to assuage any fears that a guest may have by updating our cancellation policy to address this sensitive subject,” said Dan Austin, President and Founder of Austin Adventures (http://www.austinadventures.com/).

The adventure travel company, which offers trips to all seven continents, is applying the revised policy to all of its trips—not just those to Africa where many of its partners are also adjusting their cancellation policies.

As with most tour operators, Austin Adventures’ cancellation fee ranges in amount from 15 percent to 100 percent of the price of the trip depending on when the trip is cancelled. In order to avoid the cancellation fee, guests would have to cancel at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure.

The company’s host cities in Africa include Arusha, Brazzaville, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Livingstone, Maun, Nairobi and Windhoek. Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of the Congo, is nearest to the African countries that have reported confirmed Ebola cases, but even then it’s more than 3,000 miles away. This is roughly the distance between Maine and California.

On the improbable occasion that a case of Ebola is confirmed within the parameters, booked guests could either cancel their trip completely, at least seven days prior to their scheduled departure, without having to pay a cancellation fee, or they could postpone their trip and travel at a later date for the same price. In addition, Austin Adventures offers all of its guests travel insurance and encourages travelers to obtain coverage to cover any flight cancellation fees or penalties.

Austin Adventures’ legacy in the adventure travel industry goes back more than 40 years, and the company has been selling safaris in Africa for more than a decade. It currently offers 10 different adult and family vacation packages and a river cruise in African countries including Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the Republic of Congo. The company’s adventure travel consultants can also arrange custom travel itineraries to the continent.

Austin Adventures’ new 2015 catalogs are now available. To receive a copy, visit http://www.austinadventures.com/request-catalog/ or call 1.800.575.1540.

 

 

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Africa Travel Association urges ‘rational decision making’ regarding Ebola

October 22, 2014
"Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media" Africa Travel Association

“Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media”
Africa Travel Association

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) is a leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. Established in 1975, ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA members include African governments, tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel agents, tour operators, and a media. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.

ATA issued the following statement concerning Ebola:

ATA remains concerned about the Ebola virus and its far-reaching effects, and related perceptions, on the travel and tourism sector in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most severely affected countries are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, however, the Africa tourism industry has felt stark repercussions across the continent through economic losses, cancelled flights and bookings, closed borders, and negative perceptions. These impacts reach far beyond the borders of those affected countries.

ATA urges the travel industry and traveling public to remain cautious, however, to acknowledge the immense size of the continent and to continue to travel to the vast majority of the countries that remain safe. With a landmass of 30.2 million square kilometers, the African continent is larger than China, India, and the United States combined, with its 54 independent countries.

ATA does not support the cancellation of flights to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as this creates further isolation, impeding the delivery of critical medical supplies and travel by aid workers, which can exacerbate the situation. According to the WHO, the countries affected “have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability.”

Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media. Africa has always suffered from challenges of perception relating to ignorance and a lack of understanding of the continent by citizens from around the world.

Despite these challenges, ATA remains optimistic about travel and tourism to the African continent. In 2013, Africa welcomed over 65 million visitors, consistently increasing its share in the global travel marketplace. Africa is an exciting travel destination, one of world’s most dynamic travel destinations for tourists seeking for adventure, exceptional cultural exchange and heritage tours, diverse culinary experiences, unparalleled safari and wildlife opportunities, first-class beaches, and a wealth of investment opportunities. In pursuit of its mission, ATA believes that tourism is a powerful tool for promoting economic growth, job creation, investment and cultural exchange.

Additionally, ATA encourages travelers to find the most up-to-date information here:

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola

For more information on ATA, visit www.africatravelassociation.org or call 212.447.1357.

 

 

Travel Trends Show Need for CDC Ebola Screenings at Airports

October 9, 2014

(Scottsdale, AZ) – A sharp drop in travel to West Africa is an indicator that the Centers for Disease Control’s initiative to screen passengers at five international airports is a positive measure to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola disease in the United States.

The number of clients that Passport Health sees going to West Africa has dropped 67% for the month of September and an overall decline for most of the third-quarter.  The two countries hit most are Guinea and Liberia where travel has decline 66.5% and 44% over the last two months.  Though this is not an indicator of all travel to and from Africa it does tend to show that most travel in the region would likely be from natives of that country who possibly could have come in contact with Ebola, which would help contain the disease.

“We feel the CDC is taking the necessary precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of Ebola,” says Melanie Kohr, Vice-President of Clinic Operations for Passport Health.  “With travel to and from Africa on the decline for Western tourists these testing measures will be very helpful in identifying anyone with the disease while not stalling air travel to the region or causing delays that could hurt domestic air travel.  It’s about striking a balance, and the CDC seems to be doing it well.”

The CDC plans to test the temperature of everyone coming into the five airports that have been shown to service almost 95% of travelers from West Africa in hopes that they will be able to identify anyone already showing symptoms of the virus before it is able to spread and infect more people throughout the United States.

The five airports are:  JFK in New York, New Jersey’s Newark, Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Washington Dulles and Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport.

While Passport Health will not be involved in the screening process, the company was a first responder to the 2001 Anthrax attacks and has participated in numerous vaccine trails and public health initiatives including FluFree.com which helps educate users about the flu and bolster immunization rates.

Ebola is a highly dangerous virus which can show symptoms anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure and causes fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and can lead to death.  The first case of the virus in the United States was documented in Dallas, TX just a few weeks ago.  No other cases have been confirmed.  This outbreak of the virus originated in the jungles of Western Africa and has infected more than 7,500 people and killed nearly half of them.

Passport Health is a leading provider of travel medicine and vaccination services in the North America, with over 230 clinic locations, 20+ years of experience, a commitment to first class medical care, and rigorously trained medical staff. Passport Health’s core services have grown from travel medicine to include on-site flu clinics, specialty physical exams, routine immunizations, and vaccination records management solutions for public and private sector clients of all sizes.

Passport Health, (480) 646-9064, Fax: (877) 440-1795, PassportHealthGlobal.com.

Travel Health: Sickweather App Tracks, Maps Reports of Illness so Travelers can Prepare

May 23, 2014

Sickweather, a Baltimore-based company, provides online reports and an iPhone app that scans social networks for indicators of illness, and maps real time data on more than 23 different symptoms and illnesses. Sickweather launched their beta website in November 2011, and now qualifies over 600,000 reports of illness each month.

Sickweather uses a patent-pending process to track and map reports of illness on Twitter and Facebook. The forecast represents the top trending illnesses reported in any given area. The maps may show clusters of activity as represented by orange polygons, or individual reports as represented by blue “SICK” map markers.

A recent report for the New York area showed “Common Cold, Fever, and Cough are going around in New York.  Reports of Cough are on the rise” and provided animated 5-day Common Cold Map; animated 5-Day Fever Map; and Animated 5-Day Cough map.

In 2012, Sickweather was recognized among “100 Brilliant Companies” by Entrepreneur Magazine and featured on the Today Show for successfully identifying the early start of the 2012 Flu Season 6 weeks before the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). For more information, visit: www.sickweather.com

Download The iPhone App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sickweather/id741036885?mt=8

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