Health advice obtained by tourists travelling to Magnetic Island: a risk area for ‘Irukandji’ jellyfish in North Queensland, Australia

Leggat, Peter A. , Harrison, Simone L., Fenner, Peter J., Durrheim, David N., and Swinbourne, Anne L. (2005) Health advice obtained by tourists travelling to Magnetic Island: a risk area for ‘Irukandji’ jellyfish in North Queensland, Australia. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 3 (1). pp. 27-31.

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Abstract

Background: Little is known about the travel health advice obtained by tourists travelling to Magnetic Island, which is a known risk area for the potentially fatal ‘Irukandji’ jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef coast of north Queensland, Australia.

Methods: Structured interviews were conducted with 208 ferry passengers (93% response) travelling between Townsville (Latitude 19°S) and Magnetic Island.

Results: Less than half of the international tourists (21, 46%) had obtained travel health advice before coming to north Queensland, although they were significantly more likely to have done so than domestic tourists (p<0.001). Travel health advice obtained by international tourists was sourced mainly from their general practitioner (8, 50%) or from a guidebook (6, 38%). Eighty-eight percent of north Queensland residents, 70% of domestic tourists, and 34% of international tourists knew what an Irukandji jellyfish was (p<0.001), although this was not associated with having obtained travel health advice. For those passengers returning from the Island, 8 (44%) domestic tourists and 4 (35%) international tourists recalled seeing some information on the Island that improved their knowledge about Irukandji jellyfish. Most of the international tourists travelled to north Queensland by bus (30, 65%), while most domestic tourists arrived by private car (12, 40%) or plane (10, 33%).

Conclusions: Only a small proportion of international tourists knew about Irukandji jellyfish and most tourists had not received travel health advice. The majority of tourists had not received further information about Irukandji jellyfish risk whilst on the island. All travellers to popular north Queensland tourist areas need travel health advice, which includes advice on avoiding contact with Irukandji and Chironex box jellyfish. Health promotion campaigns directed at providing this advice need to be aware that most tourists to north Queensland arrive by bus or car and the only ‘shared’ vehicle, at least to Magnetic Island, is the passenger ferry.

Item ID: 7217
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Irukandji; north Queensland; safety; travellers
ISSN: 1873-0442
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 04:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Scopus Scopus 6
Downloads: Total: 2
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