University student travel-health and immunity study

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: http://sphcm.med.unsw.edu.au/research/infectious-diseases/travel-study

Project team

Professor William Rawlinson
Faculty of Medicine
Dr Bill Kefalas
DVC Academic
Dr Holly Seale
Faculty of Medicine
Professor Nicholas Zwar
Faculty of Medicine
Professor Raina MacIntyre
Faculty of Medicine

Key contact

(02) 9385 3667
a.heywood@unsw.edu.au