Vaccinations for international travellers travelling from Greece

Androula Pavli, Athina Spilioti, Ioanna Lymperi, Panagiotis Katerelos, Helena C Maltezou
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 2013, 11 (4): 225-30
The aim of this prospective, questionnaire-based study is to assess pre-travel vaccinations for international travellers who receive pre-travel advice in Greece. A total of 2494 travellers were studied from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010. Travellers sought pre-travel advice at a median of 16 days (range: 0-349 days) before departure. Sub-Saharan Africa was the most common destination (34.7%). Most travellers (60.8%) travelled for <1 month, for recreation purposes (58.9%), stayed in hotels (65.3%), and in urban areas (53.6%). Yellow fever, tetravalent meningococcal, typhoid fever, cholera, and rabies vaccines were administered to 1629 (65.3%), 666 (26.7%), 615 (24.7%), 28 (1.1%), and/or 12 (0.5%) travellers, respectively. Of those who received Yellow fever vaccine, 737 (45.2%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 332 (20.4%) travelled to South America, 949 (58.3%) stayed for short term, and 762 (46.8%) stayed in urban areas. Of the 1629 travellers vaccinated against Yellow fever, 150 (9.2%) and 226 (13.8%) travelled to areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South America respectively, where the vaccine is not or generally not recommended. Of those travellers who received meningococcal vaccine, 327 (49.1%) travelled to the Middle East for the Hajj, 251 (29%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 410 (61.6%) for short term, and 540 (64.4%) stayed in urban areas. Of those travellers who received typhoid vaccine, 241 (39.2%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa, 78 (12.7%) to the Indian subcontinent, 234 (38%) for short term, and 419 (68.1%) stayed in urban areas. Regarding routine vaccines, tetanus-diphtheria, poliomyelitis, and measles-mumps-rubella vaccines were administered to 707 (28.3%), 639 (25.6%) and/or 149 (6%) travellers, respectively. Of those to whom poliomyelitis vaccine was recommended, 295 (46.2%) and 137 (21.4%) travelled to sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, respectively, and 362 (56.7%) travelled for short term. In conclusion, this study revealed that there is a need for more selective vaccine recommendations for travellers to developing countries, taking under consideration travellers and travel characteristics as well. Strategies to target travel health consultants should be developed in order to increase awareness in travel health issues.

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