International Travel Clinic

Gilmer County International Travel Clinic provides total travel health services
By Jennifer King, District Public Information Officer
 
Jack and Trisha Senterfitt of Ellijay, GA receive international travel health services from Katherine Meyer, Manager of the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic, part of the Gilmer County Health Department in Ellijay. Pleased with the "thorough, professional and responsive care" they received at the clinic, they are particularly happy they were able to arrange an immediate appointment. The Senterfitts are preparing to visit their son, Jeremy Senterfitt, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he teaches English to children at the Hilltops Academy. Jeremy has also enlisted the services of the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic. The Gilmer County International Travel Clinic in Ellijay, Georgia provides comprehensive health services travelers need before leaving for faraway lands. These services include an individual assessment of a client's health history, travel itinerary, travel risks and selection of the appropriate travel vaccines to ensure a healthy journey abroad. Additionally, clinic staff discusses recommendations for malaria medications and preventive treatment for travelers' diarrhea. The clinic, located in the Gilmer County Health Department at the corner of South Main and Southside Church Streets in Ellijay by the North Georgia Medical Center, is certified to administer the Yellow Fever vaccine and is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine established in 1991.

International travel continues to grow exponentially; and, while planning for foreign vacations, business trips, family visits, response to disaster, mission trips and other international expeditions, travelers must prepare for possible exposure to various diseases. This is especially vital when voyaging to developing areas of the world where visits were once rare. Generally, the risk of becoming ill during international travel depends on the region visited, but, also, it depends on other factors such as age, health condition, length of stay and the activities planned. New or reemerging infectious diseases rarely seen currently in this part of the world may put the traveler at risk if exposed.

Travel Clinic staffKatherine Meyer, manager of the Gilmer County Health Department and the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic, said, "In the short time our international travel clinic has operated, we've assisted close to three hundred clients who have been quite pleased with our services, including couples who traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam, missionaries going to Kenya and India, and a young man who is teaching English to children in Ethiopia. In fact, his parents will soon travel to be with him, and they have already been to our clinic."

According to client surveys, customer satisfaction with the clinic has been high, partly because of the unusually prompt time in which appointments are scheduled, as opposed to weeks-long waiting lists at some travel clinics; but, also, as reflected in the comment section of the surveys, clients consider the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic and its staff to provide, 'high quality care, knowledge and professionalism', 'country-specific information', 'very thorough and extremely helpful' service, and 'friendly, convenient' care.

Although appointments can be arranged within days, travelers are encouraged to schedule a pre-travel clinic appointment at least 2 months prior to any international travel departure. This would provide enough time to receive immunizations and to begin building immunity to diseases that may be encountered on a particular journey.

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