JOURNAL ARTICLE

Travel-related health problems in Japanese travelers

Yasutaka Mizuno, Koichiro Kudo
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 2009, 7 (5): 296-300
19747665

BACKGROUND: Although the number of Japanese individuals traveling abroad has increased steadily, reaching approximately 17.3 million in 2007, the incidence of various travel-related health problems in Japan remains unknown. The travel-related health problems of Japanese travelers returning to Japan from abroad are analyzed by assessing the records.

METHODS: Data were collected retrospectively on returning travelers who visited the authors' travel clinic during the period from January 2005 through to December 2006 with any health problem acquired overseas. A total of 345 patients were included in this study (200 male, 145 female; average age, 34+/-12.3 years).

RESULTS: Reasons for travel included leisure (45.8%); business (39.1%); visiting friends and relatives or accompanying other travelers (8.7%); volunteering (3.8%); and long stays in order to study or live (2.6%). The most visited destination was Asia (n=260), followed by Africa (n=105). The most commonly reported health problems were gastro-intestinal infections (39.1%), followed by respiratory tract infections (16.2%), animal bites (8.1%), and skin problems (5.8%). Together, malaria and dengue accounted for 10% of diagnoses in 125 febrile patients (36.2%).

CONCLUSION: Although the profile of travel-related health problems in Japanese travelers is similar to that of Western travelers, the characteristics of travel were quite different. Therefore Japanese travel advice should be tailored to suit the Japanese traveler.

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