Illness and injury to travelers and access to dental care on a research expedition to Mongolia

Shaw, Marc T.M., Daniels, David, and Leggat, Peter A. (2009) Illness and injury to travelers and access to dental care on a research expedition to Mongolia. Journal of Travel Medicine, 16 (5). pp. 328-331.

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Background: Expeditions provide an opportunity for travelers to undertake specialized travel to more extreme destinations in the security of an expeditionary group with medical coverage. Little is known about the illnesses and injuries occurring to expeditioners in Mongolia or access to dental care in the local population. This study was designed to investigate the prevalence of health problems suffered by travelers and managed among the local population on a research expedition to Mongolia.

Methods: In June 2005, the expedition physician (MTMS) and dentist (DD) prospectively diagnosed and recorded all illnesses and injuries among 16 travelers (eight males and eight females) as well as any indigenous people on a 22-day paleontological expedition to the Mongolian Gobi Desert.

Results: There were 53 health presentations and 14 dental problems among the indigenous population and the Mongolian escort. Males and females presented in equal proportions with the average age of 49 years (SD = 16). Presentations involved locomotor/accident (32%), dermatological (23%), gastrointestinal (19%), neurological (17%), psychological (6%), and with other systems (11%). Most accidents were due to lacerations (85%). Presentations were highest on days 4 and 5 (10% or 18%). Females were significantly more likely to present later in the expedition ( p = 0.013). One quarter (25%) were handled conservatively with 28% requiring topical treatments with others requiring antiemetics (9%) and anti-infl ammatory drugs (4%). There were no dental concerns reported among the expeditioners, although there were 14 cases among the indigenous population. While there were no deaths on the expedition, there were two major incidents, one of which required emergency evacuation.

Conclusions: The health problems encountered were largely similar to those reported for other expeditions. The most common problems included trauma as well as dermatological, dental, gastrointestinal, and neurological conditions. It is important that expedition teams are prepared to manage common problems, such as trauma and dental lesions.

Item ID: 10907
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-8305
Keywords: travel medicine; expedition; Mongolia; illness; injury; dental
Date Deposited: 05 May 2010 22:41
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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