Travelers visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and imported infectious disease: travelers, immigrants or both? A comparative analysis.Travel Med Infect Dis 2014 Jan-Feb; 12(1):88-94TM
Immigrants are increasingly traveling back to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFRs). They account for an important proportion of all international travelers and have a high risk for certain travel-related infectious diseases.
We describe the spectrum of infectious diseases diagnosed in a cohort of 351 VFRs and compare them with two previously published cohorts: of immigrants and travelers attended at our centre.
The most frequent diagnoses observed among VFRs were typical travel-associated infections such as malaria (75 [21.4%]), traveler's diarrhea 17 [4.8%]), intestinal parasites (16 [4.6%]) and dengue (11 [3.1%]). Asymptomatic chronic infectious diseases, such as latent tuberculosis (56 [16%]), chronic viral hepatitis (18 [5.1%]) and filariasis (18 [5.1%]), probably acquired before migration, were also observed.
VFRs should thus be approached from two perspectives as concerns imported infectious diseases: as travelers and as immigrants. Etiological studies focusing on the presenting complaint as well as systematic screening for other latent infectious diseases should be performed.