Sometimes, travellers can bring back more than souvenirs and memories from their tropical vacation. Numerous tropical diseases can be acquired when travelling such as Malaria, Salmonella infection and rashes. Now, there’s an opportunity for Interior residents who are infected with a tropical disease to be treated closer to home as a new clinic opens in the Okanagan.
The Kelowna Infectious Diseases & Tropical Medicine Clinic, located in Kelowna General Hospital, will focus on the diagnosis and management of diseases in returned travellers (including those visiting families and friends abroad), refugees, asylum seekers, new immigrants, as well as overseas visitors and tourists. The location was previously known as the Kelowna Infectious Diseases Clinic and is expanding its service offerings to include tropical medicine.
It’s important to note that any returning traveller with a fever must be first assessed in the emergency department in order to rule out such entities as Malaria, Dengue fever, or Typhoid fever. For all other concerns or diseases, a referral is required by your general practitioner or your family physician.
“Fever in a returning traveler is considered serious and requires medical attention in the emergency department (ED). The ability to see clients with these infections, following assessment in our ED, will mitigate the client’s need to travel to Vancouver, as is currently required,” said Dr. Issa Ephtimios, who is heading up the delivery of tropical medicine with support from Dr. Boi Masake. Both physicians are certified in tropical medicine and have gained extensive education in this field.