Travel Health Guidance for Schools
In recent years there has been an increase in school excursions overseas to countries where health hazards may be present. In addition, school exchange visits to countries in the developing world, which may entail extended periods abroad, are also on the increase.
Enquiries to the Travel and International Health (T&IH) team at Health Protection Scotland (HPS) from excursion organisers and head teachers seeking guidance, highlight that there is often confusion regarding travel health preparation for school excursions.
This coupled with an increase in travel related illness such as travellers' diarrhoea and schistosomiasis in returning school parties (1) suggests that there is a need for specific advice for schools
The aim of the guidance is to provide additional practical advice on health issues for those going on an overseas excursion. Advice and information on health considerations to be included in the planning stage of overseas excursions will help organisers, parents and pupils alike, and lead to a more consistent and effective approach to healthcare for school travellers.
The guidance has been produced primarily for those planning school excursions abroad although much of the information and advice is also relevant to parents and pupils.
The UK Government and Scottish Executive both publish comprehensive school guidance on outdoor excursions and these should be consulted by trip organisers in the first instance.
1. Blach,O Rai,B Oates,K Et al. An outbreak of schistosomiasis in travellers returning from endemic areas: the importance of rigorous tracing in peer groups exposed to risk of infection. Journal of Public Health. 2011: 34; 32
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