Ellijay, GA – Every year, more and more Americans travel internationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Some travel for business or to volunteer, while others visit loved ones or take vacations to faraway lands, each of which has varying degrees of health risks. These risks, whether visiting Monaco or Mozambique, are why the first destination before departure should be to a travel health clinic.
The Gilmer County International Travel Clinic is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine established in 1991 and is centrally located in north Georgia within the Gilmer County Health Department in Ellijay.
"We serve travelers from this entire region,” said Krystal Sumner, nurse manager of the Gilmer County Health Department and supervisor of the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic. “Clients from Atlanta to Chattanooga and all areas in between, both far and wide, come to us for services. Very often, other travel clinics refer clients to us because it may be as long as six weeks before they can squeeze them in, but we can usually see them within a week.”
The travel clinic in Gilmer County provides comprehensive health services that travelers need before leaving the country. These services include an individual assessment of each client's health history, travel itinerary, travel risks and selection of the appropriate travel vaccines to ensure a healthy journey.
Additionally, staff offers recommendations for malaria medications and preventive treatment for travelers’ diarrhea and the clinic is certified to administer the yellow fever vaccine.
Travelers receive the latest information on outbreak alerts such as for Zika and chikungunya viruses, two mosquito-borne illnesses that are currently of concern in certain countries.
Health alert updates and recommendations for travelers are received daily from reliable sources that include the CDC and TRAVAX, a website that serves as a clinical support tool for travel medicine practitioners in helping clients make travel decisions. The site provides independently researched risk-mitigation recommendations.
“We have the ability to provide vaccine to people for many diseases they are less likely to encounter in the U.S. but may be exposed to in other parts of the world, such as polio, measles and even yellow fever,” said Sumner. “But for some diseases, there is no vaccine, and Zika and chikungunya are among them. In these cases, we educate travelers about who should go and who should not go to places where such outbreaks exist and if they do go, how to monitor themselves when they come back home, what symptoms to watch for and to contact their doctor if they develop those symptoms.”
Since opening in 2010, clinic staff has assisted several hundred clients traveling to all parts of the globe for everything from vacations to business to mission trips at affordable rates.
“Our goal for the traveler,” said Sumner, “is to ensure they can stay healthy and focused on the purpose of their trip and not suffer the terrible effects of an illness that could have been prevented. We want them to return as safe and sound as the day they left home.”
The Gilmer County International Travel Clinic is located in the county health department at 28 Southside Church Street in Ellijay. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays. The clinic closes for an hour at noon each Monday through Thursday.
Although appointments can be arranged within days, travelers are encouraged to schedule a pre-travel clinic appointment at 1 to 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.
To schedule an appointment with the Gilmer County International Travel Clinic, call (706) 635-4363, extension 104 or 113. To download pre-travel forms from online, click on Int'l Travel Clinic Flier, Preparing for Your Appt, Pre-Travel Questionnaire and Survey of Satisfaction .