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Travel Health Watch.

New York (AirGuide - Travel Health Watch) Oct 25, 2009

Considering the haziness surrounding medical marijuana laws, it may be surprising that some of the most uptight places in the Bay Area N local airports N are also some of the most laid back when it comes to medical pot patients. San Francisco police, who patrol San Francisco International Airport, say they allow card-holding medical marijuana patients to carry up to 8 ounces of dried cannabis when traveling. The SFO policy follows the guidelines police use within the city of San Francisco, said Sgt. Wilfred Williams. Then-San Francisco police Chief Heather Fong enacted the policy in November 2008 through a three-page bulletin to officers. It instructs officers to leave medical marijuana patients and their drugs alone if they are using the marijuana for medical purposes and not for criminal activity. And when it comes to air travel, local police N not airport officials or federal authorities N determine which passengers can fly with medical pot. Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said airport security officers are trained to check for dangerous items such as explosives when screening departing passengers, their carry-on bags and checked luggage. TSA officers sometimes find items such as drugs and child pornography, however, and turn them over to local law enforcement, which decides what to do with the items and the passenger, Trevino said. If the local police force allows the passenger to keep their medical marijuana, the TSA would not stop them from traveling with the drug, she said. Likewise, SFO spokesman Mike McCarron said officials at the transportation hub have nothing to do with enforcement of medical marijuana laws at the airport. At Mineta San Jose International Airport, enforcement of medical marijuana laws is left to San Jose police, said airport spokesman David Vossbrink. San Jose police Sgt. Ronnie Lopez said they also do not arrest or cite passengers with medical marijuana at the airport or seize their drugs. They do, however, write a report and send it to federal authorities, who determine whether to file charges, he said. In years past, that may have posed a problem to medical marijuana travelers, but the Justice Department this week told its U.S. attorneys to back off prosecuting medical marijuana users who comply with state law. In the East Bay, the Alameda County Sherriff's Office enacted a specific policy last year that allows medical marijuana users to travel from Oakland International Airport with the drug. As at SFO, a qualified patient or primary caregiver as defined by California law can carry up to 8 ounces during travel out of Oakland. Of course, just because passengers are allowed to take their marijuana out of the Bay Area does not give them full immunity from prosecution, as more than 30 states ban medical marijuana. If a Bay Area traveler lands in a place where the drug is illegal, they could be prosecuted by state authorities. Alameda County deputies notify passengers flying out of Oakland that they could be violating the law if they land in one of the many states that ban medical marijuana. But they have never called ahead to notify police on the other end. Despite the policies, many patients are hesitant to travel out of local airports with their medical marijuana, said Nathan Sands, vice president of the Compassionate Coalition, a Fairfield-based nonprofit medical pot advocacy group. Airports have gained a reputation, particularly following the Sept. 11 attacks, for confiscating normally legal items, such as liquids, at TSA security gates. "I think a lot of patients have been fearful of traveling through airports with medical marijuana because of the federal involvement," Sands said. "And you don't want to be hassled at the airports." And although patients rely on their marijuana like they do any other medication, it may be intimidating for a traveler flying to a state where the drug is banned, Sands said. Oct 22, 2009

Travel extending beyond 6 months is associated with health risks not usually encountered among short-term travelers, new data indicate. Issues of most concern for long-term travelers are psychological problems and diseases caused by parasites. "Few studies have compared the types and causes of illness in travelers on the basis of duration of travel," Dr. Lin H. Chen, from the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and members of the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network note the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Their study used data from ill travelers who visited GeoSentinel sites -- clinics on 6 continents that specialize in travel medicine - from 1996 through 2008. Included in the analysis were 4039 persons who traveled for more than 6 months and for 24,807 who traveled for less than 1 month. Long-term travelers were significantly more likely than short-term travelers to have a variety of ailments including persistent fatigue, chronic diarrhea, malaria and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. They were also much more likely to come down with leishmaniasis, a disease caused by a parasite transmitted by a tiny sandfly that can lead to severe scarring, and the parasitic worm disease schistosomiasis. "Many common infections seen in long-term travelers are preventable by vaccines, vector avoidance, food/water precautions, and avoidance of soil and fresh water," the researchers note. Psychological diagnoses that were significantly more common in long-term travelers included depression, stress, and fatigue. "The increased number of missionary/volunteer/research/aid workers with stress was most significant," the investigators report. Chen and colleagues point out that 70 percent of the long-term travelers in their study made pre-travel visits to health care providers. Oct 20, 2009

With the spread of the swine flu, traveling internationally can be a concern. Travelers need to research on the country they are visiting and note the swine flu status. The Centers for Disease Control Web site has a travelerOs health section, so travelers can look up what vaccines they might need. When travelling internationally, the CDC recommends that all recommended vaccinations be completed before travelling. The only required vaccination is for yellow fever, and this is only when visiting areas in Africa and South America. Also, those traveling to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj need a meningococcal vaccination. According to an announcement on the CDC Web site, international travelers may soon have to undergo flu screenings when arriving in another country. However, the Web site states that the U.S. is not screening travelers coming to the U.S. or going to another country as of yet. It is recommended that people with the swine flu not travel. Mexico appears to be safer for travel now, since the CDC and U.S. Department of State Web sites donOt have new travel warnings issued for Mexico. Oct 20, 2009

Boeing

Boeing has brought its new BBJ Convertible to NBAA for the first time to highlight the multi-mission business jet. The aircraft, which is configured for Scandinavian Airlines medical evacuation, features a 140 x 96.5in (355 x 245cm) side cargo door. Boeing is touting an 8h freighter conversion time for the aircraft, which is based on the company's 737-700C. Oct 19, 2009

Hawker Beechcraft, Corporate Angels Network

Hawker Beechcraft will auction two rides in its acrobatic T-6 trainer to raise money for the Corporate Angels Network, a charity that provides patients with free flights in empty seats on corporate jets for transport to medical care. The auction is part of the Wednesday evening NBAA charity benefit. Oct 19, 2009

Innotech Aviation

Innotech Aviation and Air Data have signed a partnership agreement that will see the JetAir Bio-Protection Systems installed on the Global Express business jet at Innotech's Montreal centre. The JetAir system protects passengers and crew from a wide range of air contaminants, both biological and chemical and is derived from technology used on the International Space Station. The BPS helps minimise vulnerability to infections like SARS, avian flu and even hostile agents such as anthrax. Oct 22, 2009

Swine Flu

Despite the current internal outbreak of the Influenza A H1N1, also known as Swine Flu, officials from the Rwanda Development Board-Tourism and Conservation office, yesterday assured tourists that it has not affected the industry. Officials allayed any fears, emphasising that there is no cause for alarm because the Ministry of Health has instituted appropriate measures to curb any further spread of the contagious flu. The Deputy CEO in charge of Tourism and Conservation, Rosette Rugamba, highlighted the fact that no cases have been traced in the tourism areas of the country. Oct 19, 2009

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is poised for tremendous growth in the medical tourism industry. OThe United Kingdom, like the United States has both inbound and outbound medical tourism. Both the inbound and outbound patient flows will continue to increase with the improved levels patient access to healthcare information. We are thrilled to have the leading medical tourism players from the United Kingdom at our annual conference in Los Angeles this year,O said Renee-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association. Also looking forward to this big event is a leading online portal serving patients in the US and UK. "The Medical Tourism Congress is a must attend event if you're serious about medical tourism. No other event brings together the decision makers from over 800 organizations committed to the tremendous growth we're seeing in the medical tourism market. At AllMedicalTourism.com, we ensure that healthcare providers grow the volume of international patients they receive, by outsourcing their patient acquisition marketing to us. Last month alone we referred over 7,500 patients to 38 countries, and we're very excited about meeting with more provider dedicated to medical tourism and helping them to grow their market share," said Rob Passmore of AllMedicalTourism.comOs United Kingdom Office. http://www.allmedicaltourism.com/ Oct 19, 2009

ZZ AirGuide 091026

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Date:Oct 26, 2009
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