FIU Health Travel Medicine Program

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Travel MedicineRabies in India, cholera in the Caribbean, Ebola in Uganda, measles in Ukraine, and dengue fever in too many places to list; makes you want to unpack your bags and stay home, but there is no need to cancel your travel plans. The trick is to see your travel medicine doctor before you go anywhere.

“Many people don’t think about the risks they face when they are traveling,” says Dr. Carlos Torres-Viera, an infectious diseases specialist who heads the Travel Medicine program at the FIU Health Faculty Group Practice. 

This medical facility at PG5-Market Station on Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus in Miami, is now open to the community offering world class care by board-certified primary care physicians and specialists from the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

The Travel Medicine Program is all about keeping you safe and healthy while traveling abroad, and it goes way beyond just providing vaccines. Through his expertise and with the help of extensive travel health databases, Dr. Torres-Viera and his staff can customize your travel medicine plans according to your destination, itinerary, planned activities and medical history.

“You need to take into account not just where you’re going, but how you’re getting there,” says Dr. Torres-Viera who points out you might have a stopover in a country that requires certain vaccines you may not have been counting on. He says the time of year you’re traveling can be an important factor because some diseases are more prevalent in certain seasons; the length of your stay could affect the incubation period of certain diseases, and the activities you plan can affect your risk. For example, visiting high places can cause altitude sickness, swimming or diving can expose you to dangerous marine animals or bacteria; even if you stick to metropolitan “cement jungles” there may be a risk. “Dengue is very prevalent right now in urban areas in tropical cities” says the doctor, “you don’t have to go into a jungle to get dengue”.

Last but not least, Dr. Torres-Viera tells his patients not to overlook the possibility of getting sick and needing medical care while traveling. “People need to know if their health insurance will cover them abroad. They need to know the high cost of an emergency evacuation. They need to know about travel insurance.”

And all of this is particularly important here in South Florida.  Miami International Airport sees more than 18-million international passengers a year, second only to New York’s JFK. And as Dr. Torres-Viera reminds us, “we are also home to many immigrants who travel back and forth to visit family or do business and come into contact with diseases we don’t commonly see here.”

For more information or to make an appointment, please call:
305-FIU-DOCS (348-3627).