Trends in the knowledge, attitudes and practices of travel risk groups toward prevention of hepatitis B: results from the repeated cross-sectional Dutch Schiphol Airport Survey 2002-2009

Perry J J van Genderen, Pieter P A M van Thiel, Paul G H Mulder, D Overbosch
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 2014, 12 (2): 149-58

BACKGROUND: Previous studies investigating the travellers' knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) profile indicated an important educational need among those travelling to risk destinations.

METHODS: In the years 2002-2009 an annually repeated cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was conducted at the Dutch Schiphol Airport with the aim to study trends in KAP of travel risk groups toward prevention of hepatitis B. The frequently encountered risk groups last-minute travellers, solo-travellers, business travellers, travellers visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and elderly travellers were specifically studied.

RESULTS: A total of 3045 respondents were included in the survey. Travellers to destinations with a high risk for hepatitis B had significantly less accurate risk perceptions (knowledge) than travellers to low-risk destinations but no differences were observed in past risk-taking attitude. Protection rates against hepatitis B were significantly higher in travellers to high-risk destinations. There was a positive trend over the years in the proportion of travellers to high-risk destinations seeking travel health advice. In accordance with this, trend analyses also indicated rising protection rates against hepatitis B. No significant trends in protection over time were observed for the travel risk groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this repeated cross-sectional survey suggest an annual 10% increase in protection rates against hepatitis B in Dutch travellers, both to destinations with a high risk and to destinations with a lower risk of hepatitis B, but these trends in protection rates were not observed for the travel risk groups to high-risk destinations. The KAP profile of last-minute travellers and (to a lesser extent) VFRs showed an increased relative risk in hepatitis B, irrespective of the travel destination, underlining the need for specific targeting of these travel risk groups.

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