Self-reported illness among Boston-area international travelers: A prospective study.Travel Med Infect Dis. 2016 Nov - Dec; 14(6):604-613.TM
The Boston Area Travel Medicine Network surveyed travelers on travel-related health problems.
Travelers were recruited 2009-2011 during pre-travel consultation at three clinics. The investigation included pre-travel data, weekly during-travel diaries, and a post-travel questionnaire. We analyzed demographics, trip characteristics, health problems experienced, and assessed the relationship between influenza vaccination, influenza prevention advice, and respiratory symptoms.
Of 987 enrolled travelers, 628 (64%) completed all surveys, of which 400 (64%) reported health problems during and/or after travel; median trip duration was 12 days. Diarrhea affected the most people during travel (172) while runny/stuffy nose affected the most people after travel (95). Of those with health problems during travel, 25% stopped or altered plans; 1% were hospitalized. After travel, 21% stopped planned activities, 23% sought physician or other health advice; one traveler was hospitalized. Travelers who received influenza vaccination and influenza prevention advice had lower rates of respiratory symptoms than those that received influenza prevention advice alone (18% vs 28%, P = 0.03).
A large proportion of Boston-area travelers reported health problems despite pre-travel consultation, resulting in inconveniences. The combination of influenza prevention advice and influenza immunization was associated with fewer respiratory symptoms than those who received influenza prevention advice alone.