School of Public Health and Community Medicine

University student travel-health and immunity study

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The congregation of students, who may have similar infectious diseases risks, may amplify infectious disease outbreaks, as seen in the USA. In contrast to the USA, there are no existing requirements at universities in Australia regarding proof of immunisation.

Although the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship recommends students visiting Australia ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations, this is not a visa entry requirement. There are limited data on the infectious disease risks for international students. Domestic university students may also be at an increased risk of importing infectious diseases as a result of missed childhood vaccinations during periods of declining disease transmission combined with high rates of travel to areas of high infectious disease endemicity. Although there have been studies on health seeking behaviour and risk perception of travellers in general, there is currently a lack of information on travel health of young adults in Australia. 

This study aims to:

  1. Determine population immunity to a range of vaccine preventable diseases; and
  2. Examine the travel practices of young Australian and international university students in Australia. 

The study has two components: (1) An online survey of travel, health seeking behaviour and risk perception in the university student population; and (2) A serosurvey of university students.

Enrolled UNSW students can take part in the study:

Project Members
image - Unsw Med 26 Anita Heywood Cropped
Senior Lecturer
Ph 02 9385 3667
Dr Bill Kefalas
image - Unsw Med 81 Holly Seale Copy2
Senior Lecturer
Ph +61 2 9385 3129
Conjoint Professor
Ph 9385 2515
image - Raina322
Head of School
Ph +61 2 9385 3811
Project Supporters

This is an investigator-sponsored study supported by a GSK grant