Prevention of travel-related infectious diseases: knowledge, practices and attitudes of Swedish travellers.Scand J Infect Dis. 2006; 38(11-12):1074-80.SJ
More Swedish residents travel to countries where they are at risk for contracting malaria, hepatitis, and other serious travel-related diseases. To safeguard the public's health, it is important to determine if travellers accurately perceive health risks and take appropriate preventative measures before and during their trips. This study examined travel health knowledge, attitudes and practices among Swedish residents traveling to destinations with risk of malaria and hepatitis. Self-administered anonymous questionnaires were distributed to Swedish residents (n=957) waiting to board intercontinental flights at the Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport. A majority of travellers sought general information (74%) and travel health advice (59%) prior to departure. Most perceived vaccination as safe and effective, but only 40% and 3% of travellers reported adequate vaccine coverage against hepatitis A or hepatitis B, respectively. Although most did not know the actual malaria risk at the destination, 97% of persons flying to high-risk areas were carrying malaria medication. The study results were in line with those found in surveys conducted in other countries, and demonstrate need for further health education among travellers to risk destinations. Efforts should focus on reaching more travellers, providing clear information and improving compliance with recommended travel health advice.