Illness and injury of travellers abroad: Finnish nationwide data from 2010 to 2012, with incidences in various regions of the world.Euro Surveill. 2015 May 14; 20(19):15-26.ES
The number of international tourist arrivals reached 1,000 million in 2012. Assessment of travellers' health problems has relied on proportionate morbidity data.Given the lack of data on number of visitors to each region, incidences have been impossible to calculate.This study, largest yet reporting travellers' health problems, is the first to present incidence of illness and injury. Data on Finnish travellers with health problems abroad during 2010 to 2012 were retrieved from the database of an assistance organisation,SOS International, covering 95% of those requiring aid abroad. The numbers were compared with those of Finnish travellers in the database of the Official Statistics of Finland. The SOS International database included 50,710 cases: infections constituted the most common health problem (60%), followed by injuries(14%), diseases of skin (5%), musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (5%), digestive tract (3%),and vascular system (2%). Gastroenteritis (23%) and respiratory infections (21%) proved the most frequent diagnoses. Overall incidence of illness or injury was high in Africa (97.9/100,000 travel days; 95% Bayesian credible interval (BCI): 53.1–145.5), southern Europe plus the eastern Mediterranean (92.3; 95% BCI: 75.4–110.1) and Asia (65.0; 95% BCI: 41.5–87.9). The data show significant differences between geographical regions, indicating the main risks and thus providing destination-specific tools for travelers' healthcare.