VI Scientific and practical conference with international participation “Infectious diseases of travelers. Modern requirements and the state of the problem in Ukraine”

On March 21–22, 2024, the traditional VI Scientific and Practical Conference with international participation “Infectious diseases of travelers. Modern requirements and the state of the problem in Ukraine” was held in Odesa.  The organizers of the conference were the Department of Infectious Diseases of Odesa National Medical University, the NGO “Clinical Infectology and Travel Medicine”, the Department of Infectious Diseases of the National Medical University named after O. O. Bogomolets.

The participants of the conference were greeted by the First Vice-Rector of ONMedU, Doctor of Medicine, Professor V. H. Marichereda, President of the NGO “All-Ukrainian Association of Infectious Diseases”, Doctor of Medicine, Professor O. A. Golubovska, Director of the State University “Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases named after L. V. Hromashevskyi of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Medicine, V. I. Zadorozhna, Director of the City Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital S. Ya. Lavryukova.

Travel medicine is a new direction of modern medical science and practice which arouse due to the growth of international tourism and a significant increase in migration processes. This field of health care combines the efforts of doctors and scientists of various specialties – infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, parasitologists, microbiologists, therapists, etc.

Although today’s journeys have become easier and faster, they remain no less dangerous. For whatever reasons people travel, they always enter a new geographical or social environment, and, neglecting daily precautions, they encounter diseases and dangers, sometimes fatal.

Travelers have existed since ancient times, when man began to learn about the world, expand its boundaries and mix with other cultures. We love to learn, and when we get bored with the usual things, we go to other countries in search of something new. We are interested to see how other people live and how their lives differ from ours.

In the 21st century, no one is surprised that in a few hours you can be thousands of kilometers from home visiting the most remote corners of the planet. But along with the disappearance of borders, the danger of encountering various diseases also increases. It should be remembered that travelers are an epidemiologically significant population due to their mobility, susceptibility to diseases outside their country, and the possibility of transporting non-epidemic diseases.

It should be noted that traveling to tropical countries can be associated not only with the risk of human infection with pathogens of various infectious diseases, but also with the possibility of their introduction to epidemiologically safe countries. Cases of imported “exotic” infections are increasingly being registered, which cause significant damage to people’s health and sometimes cause emergency situations. In addition, the possibility of the return of infections that were considered to have been eliminated in developed countries should also be taken into account.

Travel medicine is becoming increasingly important. It is necessary to develop a scientific approach to the prevention of various pathological conditions in travelers, including infectious diseases. Separately, such a medical specialty does not exist. In our country, there is no special training in travel medicine in the form of independent medical education programs. In the format of higher professional medical education at the basic level (or in the form of selective components), a number of issues are considered by the programs of the departments of infectious diseases within the cycle of tropical medicine.

As a result, unfortunately, Ukraine has a low level of doctors’ knowledge of various specialties about the clinic, laboratory diagnostics, modern methods of therapy and prevention of travelers’ diseases. The current situation contributes to untimely seeking of medical help, untimely appointment of adequate treatment, severe course of the disease, possible fatal outcome.

Despite the fact that currently the CDC and WHO form the basis of certain ideas in the field of medicine in general, certain groups of specialists have taken the first steps in the development of educational programs in order to better define the role of travel medicine and its place in public health care as a narrow specialties and created the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). In Ukraine, the NGO “Clinical Infectology and Travel Medicine” was created for this purpose.

The program of the scientific and practical conference with international participation “Infectious diseases of travelers. Modern requirements and the state of the problem in Ukraine” included reports by leading infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, who touched on such diseases as measles, SARS, echinococcosis, myiasis, rabies, listeriosis, viral hepatitis, malaria, clostridial, hantavirus and streptococcal infections, travelers’ diarrhea, Lyme and Hansen’s disease, tuberculosis, HIV infection, COVID-19 and others. An interesting report “Differential diagnosis of helminth infections and rheumatological diseases on the example of a clinical case” was presented by Doctor of Medicine, Professor N. A. Zolotariova. Such a problem united the efforts of doctors of various specialties in the process of solving it.

Participants of the conference from Azerbaijan, Baku, MD, professor Yusif Alkhazov and colonel of the reserve medical service Nahiyev Azer Makhyaddin Ogly presented their personal experience regarding the clinical course, laboratory-diagnostic research and modern approaches to the treatment of hepatitis D and three-day malaria.

The 5th All-Ukrainian “Travel Safety School” was also held, which this year was dedicated to such special diseases as trypanosomosis and leishmaniasis. These nosoforms aroused special interest among listeners due to their rarity in our country, the related lack of awareness and reduced vigilance among doctors of various specialties.

The conference was held online. 1463 doctors of various specialties took part in its work. All trainees received Certificates with points in accordance with the Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 446 dated 22.02.2020. Due to numerous requests from doctors, the recording of the conference can be viewed on the YouTube channel.