Sparked by the death of the renowned South African rally driver, Gugu Zulu, on 18 July 2016 on Mount Kilimanjaro, Dr Ross Hofmeyr and I decided to write an article on the risks, avoidance and treatment of high altitude illness (HAI). We have been approached on many occasions for advice on wilderness and expedition medicine and the lack of readily obtainable information on HAI is a frequent concern. Death due to ascent to altitude is entirely avoidable if one takes all the necessary precautions. Too often illness and death are simply due to a lack of knowledge of the risks, and we hope to make this information easily available and accessible. Dr Bridget Farham, editor of the SAMJ, then suggested that we should add similar articles on other leading causes of wilderness injuries and accidents. These articles, written with the assistance of several other authors, were published in the July and August 2017 editions of the SAMJ (2 editorials and 6 articles). They are freely available to MCSA members as downloadable pdf’s, by clicking on the hyperlinks below (or by copying and then pasting the URLs into your browser). Ranging from altitude illness to human factors, the articles are not a comprehensive treatise on wilderness medicine, but deal with some of the commonest medical problems encountered by wilderness travellers. Please feel free to contact the authors should you have any questions.
Rik De Decker