Post-travel health screening

Post-travel screening is encouraged for some travellers who do not have any symptoms on return as a cost-effective way to focus investigations on the most pertinent travel risks (both physical and psychological). It is not uncommon for travellers who have returned from the tropics to have been infected and show no symptoms, often with no obvious exposure history either. Therefore, post-travel screening can provide reassurance, and identify and prevent or treat potentially problematic issues at an earlier stage when their management can be more effective. See below to determine if post-travel screening might be helpful for your situation.

While travellers can self-refer for pre-travel health consultations, post-travel consultations are available by referral only to Dr. Botten at the following location: Dalhousie University Health Service, 1246 LeMarchant St, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2, tel: 902-494-2171, and fax: 902-494-6872. Please ask your family physician if post-travel health screening would be helpful for you.

In most cases of post-travel health consultations, associated costs are covered by provincial health plans.

Travellers who may wish to ask their physician for a referral for post-travel health screening are those who are not having symptoms on return and:

  1. are “at risk” for physical or psychological problems due to the nature of their travel (e.g. returning expatriates, those abroad for 3 months or more, frequent travellers, those involved with higher risk activities or assignments, etc) and/or
  2. believe they had been exposed abroad to one or more health risks, which might give rise to problems later in life or be potentially transmissible to others (e.g. significant anxiety-provoking event, fresh-water contact in a schistosomiasis-endemic area, poor cross-cultural adjustment, unprotected casual sex, TB exposure, etc) and/or
  3. had been unwell and treated while abroad, and who now wish to know more or to receive reassurance that the previous illness has fully resolved (e.g. the chance of re-exposure to dengue in the future and its associated risk of more severe disease)

Any patients who have symptoms in the post-travel period, however, should seek assistance from their family physician or local emergency department.