[The fever of international travel]

Adriana Hristea, A I Luka, Victoria Aramă, Ruxandra Moroti
Revista Medico-chirurgicală̆ a Societă̆ţ̜ii de Medici ş̧i Naturaliş̧ti Din Iaş̧i 2008, 112 (3): 602-11
Between 20 and 70 percent of the 50 million people who travel from the industrialized world to the developing world each year report some illness associated with their travel. Although most illness reported by travellers are mild, 20-70% of travellers become ill enough to seek medical attention, either during or immediately after travel. The full spectrum of health complaints is unknown. Nevertheless the usual presentation of a returned traveller is a particular syndrome-fever, respiratory infection, diarrhoea, eosinophilia, or skin and soft tissue infection- or screening for asymptomatic infection. The most common diseases diagnosed in returning travellers are more often of cosmopolitan than exotic origin. However, fever in returned travelers always should raise suspicion for a severe or potentially life-threatening tropical infection. Therefore, fever in a returned traveller requires prompt investigation focused on infections that are life-threatening, treatable or transmissible. Careful assessment of the travel history, likely incubation period, exposure history, associated signs and symptoms, duration of fever, immunization status, use or non-use of antimalarial chemoprophylaxis and degree of compliance with the prescribed regimen, if used, helps to establish the diagnosis. Determining an approximate incubation period can be particularly helpful in ruling out possible causes of fever. Malaria is the most important cause of fever in the returned traveller. While most travel-related infections present within 6 months of return, some infections with long latent periods or potential for lifetime persistence might be seen in those who have lived abroad.

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